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West Ham’s Wanderers happy to make a surprise return

PUBLISHED: 08:30 09 January 2018

West Ham United's Reece Burke reacts to a challenge from Shrewsbury Town's Abu Ogogo during the Emirates FA Cup, Third Round match at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury.

West Ham United's Reece Burke reacts to a challenge from Shrewsbury Town's Abu Ogogo during the Emirates FA Cup, Third Round match at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury.

PA Wire/PA Images

What does the future hold for West Ham’s Reece Burke and Josh Cullen

West Ham United's Reece Burke pulls back on Shrewsbury Town's Sean Whalley during the Emirates FA Cup, Third Round match at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury. West Ham United's Reece Burke pulls back on Shrewsbury Town's Sean Whalley during the Emirates FA Cup, Third Round match at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury.

It was August 2016 since Reece Burke last pulled on a West Ham shirt in a competitive game and a lot has changed at the club since then.

That game was a surprise Europa League exit against Romanian side Astra Giurgiu, this time against League One Shrewsbury Town it was nearly a similar story in the FA Cup.

Burke has been on loan at Bolton Wanderers all season, alongside midfielder Josh Cullen, but within a week of returning, both were starting for the Hammers.

“It was a surprise,” admitted 21-year-old Burke with a smile. “The loan has only just finished and I am straight away playing for West Ham, so it was a bit weird and a lot to take in, but I was happy as well.”

SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Josh Cullen of West Ham United applauds the fans after The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Shrewsbury Town and West Ham United SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Josh Cullen of West Ham United applauds the fans after The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Shrewsbury Town and West Ham United

Burke has made 15 appearances for the struggling Trotters, but he insists it has been a good experience.

“It started off not so good and we were struggling to get a win, but things have picked up recently. I have just got myself back into the team and the results are picking up as well.”

Not only did Burke come straight back into the Hammers starting line-up, he also had to play as a right wing-back on the day, something he took in his stride.

“I have played there before,” revealed the defender. “If the gaffer wants me to play there then I am happy enough.

West Ham United's Reece Burke (left) and Shrewsbury Town's Alex Rodman battle for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup, Third Round match at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury. West Ham United's Reece Burke (left) and Shrewsbury Town's Alex Rodman battle for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup, Third Round match at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury.

“I do prefer centre half, but it is one of those things. At Bolton we have played three at the back where I have played on the right side, also left and middle and I have played right back as well, so anywhere at the back really if I am needed.”

It is a tricky situation for Burke and for Cullen for that matter who have returned to a club that has changed manager and with a new boss to impress.

Burke though, is philosophical about it all.

“It is my ambition to stay at West Ham,” he said. “I am a West Ham fan so it would be great for me and my family to see me play there week in, week out.

“That is the dream and that is what I am chasing, but you never know what is around the corner, so who knows where my journey will go?

“I am not sure what the gaffer wants. If it is a loan again it will have to be back to Bolton, but if I am not playing for West Ham, then I will be happy to get more Championship games under my belt.”

Both Burke and Cullen proved that they have plenty to offer to the squad with their performances at Shrewsbury.

Perhaps keeping them at the club would be the best thing for both of them.

Moyes is a big fan of loans though, so Bolton mmay well be their imminent destination.

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