Gordon Strachan explains Ollie Burke call-up to Scotland squad

Ollie Burke is named the Melton Times Junior Sports Personality of the Year for 2015. Pictured with award sponsor Michael Wilford EMN-160316-121540002

Ollie Burke is named the Melton Times Junior Sports Personality of the Year for 2015. Pictured with award sponsor Michael Wilford EMN-160316-121540002

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The rapid rise of Ollie Burke continued last week when the Melton footballer won his first senior international call-up.

The Nottingham Forest winger was named by Scotland manager Gordon Strachan in a 19-man squad for the upcoming friendly with Denmark at Hampden Park on Tuesday, March 29.

The pacy midfielder qualifies for Scotland through his father and has made several appearances for their under 19s, scoring his first international goal last October against Mexico.

Burke, who was voted the Melton Times Junior Sports Personality of the Year last June, took to Twitter to celebrate his landmark call-up.

He said: “Unbelievable to have been called up for Scotland senior team vs Denmark at the end of the month. So happy!”

Strachan came across the 18-year-old almost by accident when he went to scout Tony Watt in Charlton’s match against Forest.

He told The Scottish Sun: “I think I went along to see Tony Watt for Charlton and Oliver played and I thought: ‘Who is this fella? He’s different’.

“He is very quick, very strong. He likes playing wide.

“Dougie Freedman (former Forest manager) likes him and what I see, I like. He has power that many young Scots boys don’t have.”

Burke joins other uncapped hopefuls Kieran Tierney, Jamie Murphy and Liam Cooper in the squad for the match at Hampden as Strachan looks to build for the future.

The call-up is designed to encourage the youngster to believe his international future belongs with the Tartan Army.

Burke, who began his career as a junior at Mowbray Rangers, joined Forest at the age of eight and has spent a decade developing with the club.

He signed professional forms in September 2014 and made his senior debut the same month in the League Cup at Tottenham as a 17-year-old.

Burke made his league debut for Forest last season, but this campaign has seen him make the real breakthrough with two goals in 12 league appearances.

The winger has established himself as a regular in the Forest first team squad and become a fans’ favourite despite being a month short of his 19th birthday.

Last month he agreed a new four-and-a-half-year contract as Forest seek to fend off growing interest from other clubs.