‘I’m committed’-Joe Bursik ready to stake his claim as Stoke City leader
Joe Bursik is supporting himself to be Stoke City’s number one this season – even though he knows his teammates and rivals will do the same.
The 20-year-old returned to Clayton Wood this week after a remarkable campaign that saw him play for four different clubs, including emergency loans that helped Peterborough win promotion and Lincoln to the League. One play-off final.
He showed his potential in the winter back at Stoke when there was a vacancy due to injuries to Adam Davies and Angus Gunn – to the extent that Gunn, who should be on loan until next summer, returned to Southampton and moved to Norwich.
Now he hopes to prove in pre-season to Michael O’Neill that he can be trusted from the get-go when the Championship starts on August 7th.
He said: “It clarified to me about the competition but also clarified that I definitely have a chance to have the right journey. As long as I make sure I always work hard, always apply myself and most importantly show what I can do with those next week and pre-season games, I wanted to give them a really hard decision to make.
“If that is the case I will be happy and whatever happens. It will be a very good challenge. There are three other really good keepers at Stoke, we just signed Jack Bonham and great competition. We’re all pushing each other and we’re all improving.
“I really look forward to it. I’m working hard now and enjoying my football, which I always do. ”
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He added: “No matter what I want to play. There were times last season that it didn’t happen so by the time the Peterborough thing came out I jumped straight into it because I wanted to play.
“Going into the next season it should be my intention to pay for Stoke, of course, and I’m not focused on what can’t happen, I’m focused on what I want to happen, what I can control and work on.
“Whatever happens we deal with at that time, I have good people around to advise me, but in my mind I know what I want.
“There’s a great group around us in terms of keepers, it’s going to be tough – but there’s nothing wrong with backing yourself up and I’m sure other people are doing the same, which I totally respect.
“I look forward to it, I’ll enjoy it, work hard and try my best.”
Who should be number one? Tell me in the comments section
Bursik admitted that his club-hopping season of 2020/21 could make him question the pub exam in the coming years but he is clearly enjoying it todo.
“It’s pretty frantic really,” he said. “We have a summer break and at that time you have a chance to reflect. Speaking to my family and putting in perspective what you have achieved over time at my age is not true.
“We laughed out loud really because it was so surreal to play for four teams. That was pretty unheard of – and coming back to, the boys were bantering with me about that. It would have been even better if Lincoln had upgraded .That’s unbelievable.
“It was great to have a little break time but I’m back here now and ready to work hard, like I did with all the other guys last week.”
Bursik may only turn 21 later this month but he already has extensive knowledge of the AZ routeplanner, with non-league and League One loans since he left London to join Stoke as a 16-year-old. in 2017.
He was spotted by then-Stoke youth coach Danny Alcock, headed for an FA coaching role, and taken under the wing of Andy Quy, with development maintained by David Rouse and signing a new long -term contracts in early 2020..
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It can be a sad life sometimes as a caregiver, especially since there is only one starting shirt to go round the department, but all those miles have built him well.
“The thing I’m thankful for is that I always have good people around me,” he said. “On the coaching side of things over the past few years, from AFC Wimbledon coming to Stoke, the support staff around me have been really great.
“All the loans that were sent to me, from Hednesford to the Evo-Stik League to Telford and push to the Football League, you went through all these experiences. I went to Accrington as my first loan in the league as a number two and was able to get into the team through hard work and showing a bit in the cup games I played.
“Being 20 years old and having more experience I think it’s unbelievable and I’m very grateful. I’m glad I did it. There are times when I’m really hesitant about borrowing from certain teams, thinking you know this is the best level, is it, is it?
“But looking at it, honestly, I chuffed after I did. I was put in a good place. I really feel like I’m mentally capable of accepting anything.
“My whole focus is trying as hard as I can to impress the manager and staff at Stoke. That’s what I used on those loans for the last time – ok, I’m not playing at Stoke so where can I go to to further develop myself and also show men what I can do?
“To an extent I think I’ve done that. I’m really looking forward to this season and see where it takes us.”
That progress has been charted, not just from time to time but every game.
“I was chatting with my dad about it the other day,” said Bursik, who has made 16 appearances at Stoke after being called back from Doncaster in November, keeping seven clean sheets.
“He’s trying to come close to every game he can and he’s watched everything on iFollow last season. He’s probably boosted every club’s revenue because he’s tuned into so many games.
“I started in Doncaster and I was pretty happy with what I did but there were things I could have done better. That’s it. Then play for England under-21s, Stoke, then Peterborough and Lincoln … I went through my statistics with my goalie coach at the end of the season and there’s all the fancy graphics and stuff but underneath you see the progress as the season goes on.
“Going to Peterborough and Lincoln in high pressure situations where there’s not much room for error, you can’t lose because it’s pretty tight at the top or it’s a play-off match. That was another experience again where I had to deal with .I thought I was really good at performing with them.
“Obviously the Lincoln game was pretty much kind of random in the way it came. I was off for a week just chilling, moving a bit, but then my agent called me and I said of course I’ll go down. there and take another game.There is another set of young people to impress, another set of fans to show what I can do.
“It was really good and the culmination of what I learned the whole season came out in the Lincoln game. It was a high pressure situation, on TV, and I thought it was really good what I did. It was really positive.
“I always tell myself that I want to make sure every game heals and improves and I’m learning from what I did in the last game. I think on a scale I did that so I’m really happy about that.”