Town defender Burke relieved to be back in the Championship after a 'frustrating' season in League One

Defender feels second tier is where he needs to be to develop

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 10:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 10:04 am
New Town defender Reece Burke
New Town defender Reece Burke

New Town signing Reece Burke is relieved to finally be back playing in the Championship once more after what he declared was a ‘frustrating’ season in League One with Hull City last term.

The 24-year-old had started his career with West Ham making five Premier League appearances in the 2014-15 season.

He then spent a whole term in the third tier as a teenager, playing for Bradford City on loan before joining Wigan Athletic the season after where he played 10 Championship games, although suffered with injury.

Burke headed back to the second tier in the 2017-18 campaign when on loan to Bolton Wanderers, before he decided to leave the Hammers permanently, going to Hull as they finished 13th in the Championship.

However, the Tigers were relegated in the 2019-20 season, meaning Burke dropped back to the third tier once more, as although it was a winning feeling, Hull crowned champions, he knew it wasn’t where he wanted to stay.

After signing for Luton earlier this month, the defender said: “It’s frustrating for me to play in League One.

“Not so much that I think I’m better than League One, but I believe deep down that for me to develop and be the player I need to be, I need to be playing in the Championship.

“It’s no disrespect to League One, but I feel like I’ve got a lot more to offer because I’ve played in the Championship and I’ve had a taste for it.

“To get to the next step, that’s what I need to be doing.

“Last season was a bit frustrating at times but we won the league at the end of the day and it’s a great achievement, so it was well worth it.

“It’s something that I’m not going to forget for the rest of my life, winning the league, but the pathway to success is never straightforward.

“You’re going to have ups and downs and you’ve got to just take it as it comes, they all make you a better footballer or a stronger person.

“My pathway has been up and down. Others might be more straightforward, but everyone’s different.

“You’ve still got to believe and have faith in yourself that you are going to be a top footballer.

“That’s the aim and that’s what you’ve got to chase, hopefully the next step for me is the Premier League.”

The defender has played 105 games of his career in the second tier and on he how he thought he performed when at the level previously, he continued: “I felt good, I’ve played quite a few games in the Championship at a young age and it’s where I want to be to develop.

“It’s just underneath the Premier League, so you still get good players, you get good teams and I think that’s what makes you a better player, playing games against people who have played in the Prem, so I enjoyed it.

“The last year has been a bit frustrating playing League One, but my own achievement last year was to get promotion which we did.

"It was good to be a part of that and good for Hull City to bounce back, but for me, to develop and push on I need to be playing in the Champ and starting fresh at Luton is where I want to be.”

As Luton found out in their maiden season back in the Championship, when they struggled for large periods, only surviving on the final day, Burke is well aware there is a big gulf in terms of that level and League One, adding: “It is massive.

"Don’t get me wrong, League One isn’t easy, you come across pretty much everything and it’s a different ball game, less time, and it’s a bit scrappy at times, but it’s not an easy league to get out of.

"You can speak to other people and I’m sure they’d say the same, but in the Championship you’ve got that little bit more quality shall we say and better footballing games.

"I enjoyed last season, I’d played League One before when I was a lot younger, but I think for me to develop and be the footballer that I see myself is I need to be doing it in the Championship.”