Melton footballer Ollie makes Nottingham Forest debut at Spurs

Ollie Burke made his Nottingham Forest debut at Spurs just days after signing his first professional contract EMN-140110-122045002
Ollie Burke made his Nottingham Forest debut at Spurs just days after signing his first professional contract EMN-140110-122045002
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Ollie Burke had the week of his life as he made his senior debut at Tottenham just days after signing a two-year contract with Nottingham Forest.

The Reds were keen to secure the signature of the highly-rated winger and offered Burke a senior professional contract just months into the second year of his scholarship.

The former Mowbray Rangers junior first joined the City Ground set-up as an eight-year-old and has become one of the club’s most exciting prospects, treasured particularly for his blistering pace and ability to beat defenders.

The 17-year-old from Burton Lazars felt his hard work and development would one day earn a professional contract, but was stunned it arrived so soon.

He said: “Just before training, the coach called me into his office, sat me down and asked how I would feel if they were to offer me a professional contract.

“I was a bit confused at first, but then they told me that they were actually offering me a contract.

“It was a lot earlier than I was expecting, it was a shock, but I have worked very hard for this.

“Just knowing that the club are happy with me and want me there has made me more relaxed. Now I can fully concentrate on my football instead of worrying about next season.

“Forest has been a massive part of my life. This is the best thing to ever happen to me.”

Just four days after finally signing the contract, Burke received another bolt from the blue when he was named in the Forest’s first team squad for their Carling Cup trip to Tottenham.

Burke made the step up from the under 18s to under 21s near the start of the season, but was now handed his first team squad number - 35.

He added: “I found out the day before the game - I couldn’t believe it.

“To get my squad number and see my name on the back of the shirt was a dream come true.

“Just travelling down on the coach with the first team was a massive occasion. I just tried to enjoy every minute of it and suck it all up.”

After starting on the bench, Burke came on in the 86th minute in front of almost 32,000 fans, and the Sky TV cameras, with Forest trailing 3-1.

He added: “I thought I might get a few minutes under my belt, but it really depended on what the score was. If we’d been winning, it might have been a different story.

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“I felt it was meant to be; I wasn’t really nervous at all. I was pumped and ready to go when I got on the pitch.

“It was an amazing experience and hopefully I’ve got many more of them to come.”

Mum Sally Dalby was a nervous, but delighted spectator in the White Hart Lane stands.

She said: “We were so nervous for him. He only went on for about nine minutes, but he looked confident and comfortable.

“To make your debut at White Hart Lane, live on Sky Sports is amazing. My phone went mad.

“I’m hugely proud of him. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet – it’s all happened so quickly.”