The way Michael Keane handled the East Lancashire derby last March helped Clarets boss Sean Dyche highlight the young centre back as one to watch.
And Dyche was delighted yesterday to land the defender on a permanent deal, for an undisclosed fee, thought to be a club record-equalling £3m.
Keane was already on Dyche’s radar when he made his Blackburn Rovers debut in Burnley’s 2-1 win at Ewood Park.
Despite finishing on the losing side, the Stockport-born youngster, 22 on Sunday, caught the eye, and Dyche admitted he has been tracking him for some time: “He is an under-21 international.
“He’s from very good stock in Manchester United. I have known him for a long time, I’ve seen him for a long time, and when you get up close and personal working with him daily, you realise he’s the right character, not just as a player but he is conscientious, he wants to learn and I do see real development in him.
“I think he can become a very, very important player for us and beyond, somewhere down the line.
“I first saw him at Leicester, on a harsh learning curve, then last year
“I remember his first game at Blackburn was against us, which is a very tough game to step into, and I thought he handled it, not just the performance but the whole thing it is.”
And Dyche was pleased to have drawn on good contacts at Old Trafford, including former Clarets midfielder Warren Joyce: “I have got good links with the people at Manchester United, particularly Warren Joyce, going back to the days of Tom Cleverley coming to Watford.
“We all thought Keane is a good player who fits the mould. It’s important in a team like ours you have to fit the mentality and not just the talent and I think he does that.”
The signing is a real coup for Burnley, even considering he has spent the first half of the season on loan at Turf Moor, but going out and getting first team football is a big draw: “When you look across the Premier League there are not many young centre-halves who are active.
“Man United had a couple of early season who arguably were down to a lot of injuries.
“That’s not doing them down, but there are a lot of big players there who would probably play centre-half if they are fit.
“He likes the environment and is enjoying his football which is always a priority, particularly for young players who want to enjoy what they are doing.
“And I think he knows he is in a place where he can grow and that’s important.
“It’s hard to be out there active as a young centre-half, and he is active and he is playing and I think he knows that’s an important factor and I think he feels this is a good place to come and continue learning about what he wants to be.
“And that’s not just a good player. He wants to be a great player like a lot of young players do and that’s the right mindset, I believe.
“I said at the beginning of the season ideally we want that mixture - that young vibrancy and almost that open mindedness if youth, mixed with some experience.
“I think that’s a good team dynamic and he certainly plays his part in that.”
They say there is only one way when you leave Manchester United - down. But several players have shown moving on from big clubs can enhance their careers, such as Kieran Trippier and Ben Mee, who took a step back to make a step forwards when leaving Manchester City.
Dyche said: “Players’ pathways have changed over the years.
“Man United are signing players for £65m so you’ve got to be pretty handy if you are going to walk into that team without them signing another player.
“They can have different way of going up the ladder. Ingsy and Sam Vokes and Trips and Ben are good signs of that, playing in the Premier League with Burnley.
“There are different ways of getting to the same outcome.”