Burrell primed for Friday’s European opener

Tuesday 07 December 2021 Written by: Adam

The centre made his first start of the campaign at the Brentford Community Stadium following a knee injury picked up in a pre-season friendly against Doncaster, and sees Europe as an opportunity for the Falcons to move up a gear.

“I love the European competitions, and it’s probably not the worst thing in the world for us just to have a little change of focus and a different tournament to crack into after last weekend,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to win the Challenge Cup during my time at Northampton so I know what that tastes like, and it’s a very exciting time.

“I really feel like we can target this competition and do well in it this season, because the players we’ve got are good enough.

“You obviously need rotation in your squad with the length of season we have here in England, but on the same note we’re putting out a really strong side on Friday and looking to make a positive start.”

Glad to be back involved after watching most of the season from the stands, Burrell played the full game last weekend having been a replacement a fortnight earlier at Sale Sharks.

“It was just great to get myself back on the field in the Premiership, having come on from the bench a couple of weeks ago in the cup,” said the midfield man, who was capped 15 times by England.

“It’s been a long 13 weeks or so, and to get through the full 80 minutes unscathed was a big thing for me. Obviously the result took the shine off that and the boys let ourselves down with the performance, but the great thing about rugby is that there’s always a new opportunity around the corner.”

Explaining his injury, Burrell added: “I had a grade 3 MCL on my knee.

“It’s one of the more severe grades of injury but thankfully I didn’t need an operation, and in fact I’ve never had any surgery at all throughout my entire career. I’m quite proud of that, but nevertheless it was quite a severe injury and it was imperative I took my time to come back properly and get the knee as strong as it needed to be.

“It can be a dark place at times doing your rehab – just you and the physio, or sometimes totally on your own while the team are out on the field or on the road doing their thing. You want to be a part of those games and be among the boys, and you really feel secluded when you’re out injured despite the best efforts of the lads and the medical staff to keep you involved.

“I’ve managed to get through that now, I’m back amongst it and hopefully in a position to add something to the team.”

Newcastle will be out to improve on the 24-24 draw they played out when Worcester last visited Kingston Park Stadium just under a fortnight ago, not that Burrell is attaching too much significance to the Premiership tussle.

“I’m not sure how relevant that game will be to either side as we prepare for Friday, if I’m honest,” he said.

“It was a different tournament, possibly a number of different players, the weather was horrendous and it was a draw anyway. I’m sure both sides will feel a degree of disappointment at having missed scoring opportunities that night, but it’s a clean slate and another chance to have a crack at them.

“Worcester have got a dangerous squad, and with Steve Diamond in their management ranks now he’ll bring a certain steel to their mind-set. I know Steve having worked with him before, and he’ll definitely make sure they’re fired-up on Friday.

“We were disappointed by our performance last weekend at London Irish, and for us it’s just a huge focus on putting that right and showing people what we can deliver.”

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for Friday’s 8pm kick-off.

Season ticket members are reminded that this game is already part of their 2021-22 package.

[1]: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/newcastle-falcons/EDP/Event/Index/1662