Burnley are gearing up for the new Premier League campaign, where they face a baptism of fire with a visit to defending champions Chelsea on the opening weekend, and Sean Dyche’s side will face a stern test this campaign.
The Clarets are widely-tipped amongst the favourites to be relegated this season and their defensive line has lost a big player over the course of the summer transfer window, with Everton snapping-up the services of Michael Keane.
James Tarkowski currently stands as the favourite to fill-in at centre-back alongside long-serving defender Ben Mee following Keane’s departure but manager Sean Dyche has suggested he has a trick up his sleeve, stating we could see summer signing Charlie Taylor utilised in this area.
Speaking at the training ground ahead of the new season, Dyche said:
“Since we’ve had him here, we’ve been impressed with his defending, his physicality, he’s quick and strong – we threw him in a couple of times in training and just liked the look of it. We said to him just to be open-minded. It doesn’t mean he’s going to play there, but we wanted another look at it.”
“There’s no story there, we just said we needed to put minutes into him, to get used to what we are, not ‘oh, we’ve found a centre back’. That story’s not ready to write yet. Who knows, in the future it might be.”
Taylor’s new-found versatility could certainly become a crucial asset for Burnley after is transfer from Leeds United, which cost the Clarets £5m in order to avoid a tribunal, and the 23-year-old has already made an impression on his team-mates.
Ben Mee also discussed the possibility of playing alongside Taylor for Burnley this season, stating that he believes he could work well alongside the new recruit.
“He seems like a good player with a good all-around knowledge of the game so I don’t see why not. It’s good to learn another position and see through a different version of the game. If the gaffer sees him doing that I’m sure we can play alongside each other.”
Captain Tom Heaton, who’s eyeing a spot in England’s World Cup squad next summer, also spoke positively about the early impressions of Taylor.
“Since he’s been in here he’s been fantastic. We’ve got a great group of lads and he’s fitted into that superbly well, I’ve been really impressed actually. He’s got a great left foot on him, he’s a very talented lad and he’s gathering the understanding of how we want to play. I think he’ll be a really good fit.”
Burnley commence their new Premier League season this weekend with a trip to face defending champions Chelsea, where the Clarets will look to secure a better result than the 3-0 defeat they suffered at Stamford Bridge last season.