BURNLEY — “He plays off the shoulder, comes short, and gets it in to his feet, a little bit like Jermain Defoe. He can be a good finisher when he’s on it.”
Those were the words of Burnley Academy manager Jon Pepper during an interview with The Burnley Express after England-born Zimbabwean rising star Tinashe Chakwana netted four goals for the Under-23s against Sheffield United earlier in the week — rich praise indeed for a player who is only just turning 20.
Yet goals are exactly what Chakwana’s game is all about. The quartet of neat strikes doubled his tally for the season, taking him to eight before the winter period even kicks in. Linking with another impressive youngster, Dan Agyei, Burnley have the deadliest strike partnership in the league.
Chakwana is blessed with pace and the natural ability of picking up the right positions at the right times — attributes that are critical for an aspiring striker and helped Defoe reach his full potential.
The aspiring superstar finished top goalscorer in the Under-18s during the 2016-17 season, before repeating the feat with the Under-23s last year, earning a professional contract in the process.
After seeing the likes of Agyei and Dwight McNeil experience first team squads under Sean Dyche, Chakwana is ready to continue his progress at Turf Moor.
He told the Burnley website: “I have set some targets for the season, but you just have to go with the flow. I’ve got myself going now and I just want to keep it going.”
Pepper believes the next step in Chakwana’s progression is a loan move to begin 2019. He added: “We might be looking at the Christmas point where someone like Tinashe will go out on loan, so we can see how he’ll do playing men’s football week in, week out.”
Any third, fourth or fifth-tier side desperate for goals should be looking at shortlisting Chakwana to fire them up the table in the second half of the season.
Chakwana, who was born in Wigan, England, has been at Burnley since 2015 on a scholarship deal and was last year tipped him to break into the first team.
The teenage forward is strongly tipped to follow in the footsteps of his former Burnley teammate Tendayi Darikwa by pursuing an international career with Zimbabwe.