Chris McCann backs Burnley youngsters to shine

LEADING THE WAY: Chris McCann
LEADING THE WAY: Chris McCann

CLARETS skipper Chris McCann feels the club’s youngsters need time to build a solid base for promotion.

Burnley have fallen below fans’ expectations after relegation from the Premier League, finishing eighth and 13th in the Championship.

But while McCann thinks there should be a certain realism going forward, he believes a youthful Clarets squad are moving in the right direction towards a return to the top flight.

The Dubliner insists it is time to create new memories – not hark back to old ones.

McCann said: “Personally, I think a lot of people are still too hung up a little bit on the promotion year, and still try to compare us to that.

“They feel as if that’s where we belong.

“That’s been and gone and people need to get behind us now.

“We’re a new breed and the players coming through need the support because although the fans want to be there, we want to be there just as bad.

“It didn’t happen last season but it could happen next season.”

Top-scorer Jay Rodriguez has joined Southampton in a club-record £7m move.

But McCann insists that a few new faces could push the squad into contention. He said: “We need to keep our squad together and add a few more, and we could be a real force in the league next year.

“Now that we’ve got a full season under our belt together, we have no real excuses not to come back and have a right go.

“But it’s not going to happen overnight. You can’t flick a switch and you’ll be back challenging in the Premier League.

“People have to bear with us, and as I said all last season, be patient, let us grow into our roles and allow us time.

“We’re a young bunch of lads who are ambitious and want to be back there as much as anybody else, but it does take time, and it’s going to take us a little bit of time.

“Last season we did put in some good performances and showed that we are capable of being in the top six, but we just weren’t consistent enough to keep ourselves there.

“We can come back next year and have a right go.”

Meanwhile, boss Eddie Howe looks set to be frustrated in his attempts to land centre back Jason Shackell for the second successive summer.

Last year, Howe was eager to land the 28-year-old, then player of the year at Barnsley, but the former Norwich man ended up joining Derby County for around £1m.

And having been alerted to his potential availability, Howe has gone back in for him, with Derby turning down four offers from three clubs - two believed to be from the Clarets.

However, it seems as though Derby have had a change of heart, as chief executive Tom Glick said: “We’ve turned down four bids from three different clubs on Jason at this point.

“Simply put, Jason is an essential player for us.

“He played every minute of every game and it’s no surprise we’ve had interest in him, from more than those three clubs, too.

“He’s a top player in the Championship and a leader for us, so it would take a lot to pry him away from Derby.”