Sean Dyche: No problem with ‘top player’ James Tarkowski over contract admission

By David Charlesworth, PA
·3-min read

Burnley manager Sean Dyche insists he has “no problem” with James Tarkowski despite the defender’s public admission last week that he is highly unlikely to sign a new contract at the club.

Tarkowski remains at Turf Moor on a deal that runs to 2022 after the Clarets turned down a £30million bid tabled by Leicester in the most recent transfer window.

After missing the start of the 2020-21 campaign because of a toe injury, Tarkowski has started Burnley’s most recent six fixtures but he told the Daily Telegraph last Thursday he was wanting to take control of his career.

Stressing his situation was not motivated by finances, he said: “There is nothing I have heard or has been put to me that makes me think there is a scenario in which I would sign a new contract at Burnley.”

Responding to the interview, Dyche said: “Players have a different openness to them now with all the different media streams and different questions. He got asked questions and answered them what seems honestly.

“All players have a value of worth and if he feels his has not been at the right level, that is sometimes the way it is.

“These situations sometimes occur, I’ve got no problem with Tarky whatsoever, he is a very, very good professional for us, he’s a top player in my opinion.

“I have said it for months now… I’m amazed he’s not involved in the England team, I think he should be.

“That (interview) doesn’t affect anything other than him working hard to give performances for himself, the team and the club and I don’t think that will change one bit.”

Tarkowski linked up with Ben Mee at the heart of Burnley’s backline for the first time since June for the goalless draw at Brighton before the international break – only their second clean sheet of the Premier League campaign.

While they are without a win in seven matches and sit in the drop zone ahead of Monday’s visit of Crystal Palace, Dyche is happy to have Mee – who returned from a thigh injury at the Amex Stadium – and Tarkowski together again.

Dyche said: “They’ve formed a good partnership over time. Ben’s done that with a number of players and been a very, very consistent player for us. He’s a top player as well as a top fella.”

Erik Pieters has recovered from a calf injury while fellow defender Phil Bardsley is available again having tested positive for coronavirus last month.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson has a calf niggle but is expected to be fit to face Palace but another wideman in Robbie Brady is a doubt after injuring his hamstring on Republic of Ireland duty this week.

Midfielder Dale Stephens is expected to miss out because of a hamstring complaint but Dyche is hopeful full-back Charlie Taylor can overcome an Achilles tendon issue.

Dyche added: “It’s frustrating because we keep getting back to nearly full fitness but we’re hopeful that a lot of these are just small injuries that are more like days and possibly a week or so and not the longer stuff.”