Peter Burke

Burke making progress

by Ashley Houghton

U18 keeper speaks after impressing against WBA.

Sunderland under-18s goalkeeper Peter Burke says he is delighted with the progress made with his shot-stopping since arriving at the Academy of Light in the summer of 2012.

The Republic of Ireland youth international was speaking to after his Sunderland side drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion at the AoL on Saturday.

“As a side we weren’t up to standard today, normally we’re much more fluent but it was a scrappy game and we’re happy enough to get the point,” he explained.

“When I first came in it was a problem [shot stopping] but I’ve improved a lot recently and I’m just happy to make the saves and work for the team.

“I keep working as hard as I can and it’s paying off at the minute.”

After an inspired performance from the Donegal-born stopper, including three fine saves in the second half, he says his confidence is high as he sets off with the Republic of Ireland to Austria this week for the Elite Round of the U17 UEFA European Championships.

And, though, Burke loves donning the Sunderland jersey, he says there is no greater feeling than representing Ireland.

“I can’t wait, I’ve played for my country a couple of times and there’s nothing like the feeling of standing singing your national anthem – I love it, it’s the best feeling ever.

“I’ll just carry on the same and do the best I can as there is not much different other than players and tactics.”

Burke feels injuries may hamper his side’s chances of success in the competition but feels with the right application his side can still make the knockout stages.

“Our captain’s injured and we’re missing a couple of key players,” he added.

“We’re hoping for the best and we’re hoping to qualify and get through, our chances are tough so we’ll take it as it comes.”