Sean Dyche admits centre back pair James Tarkowski and Ben Mee must be “scratching their heads” at their omission from the latest England squad.
And while Tarkowski has, at least, earned two caps under Gareth Southgate in the last 18 months, Dyche hopes his captain, Mee, doesn’t end up suffering the fate of Manchester United great Steve Bruce.
Bruce captained United at the start of their dominance of English football in the early 1990s, and won Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup medals.
But he ended his illustrious career without a single senior England call up, never mind a cap.
Bruce did get one B cap in 1987, while Mee has been capped at England Under 19, 20 and 21 level, but never the full side.
Dyche mused, after the pair missed out, with Harry Maguire, former Claret Michael Keane, Joe Gomez, Tyrone Mings and Fikayo Tomori preferred: “I think both him (Tarkowski) and Ben are scratching their heads.
“Ben, eventually, could become Steve Bruce, in the sense that, it’s well documented Steve never played for England, and Ben could become one of those.
“Performance-wise, if you just went on form, currently, but particularly when we finished seventh, I thought he was outstanding for a lot of that season.
“Tarky slightly different, a bit younger, been on the England scene before, but it’s not an easy job as an international manager, and I’ve always thought Gareth is trying to look for now and keep increasing the future by getting players in early.
“So, if you look at Mings and Tomori, very little experience, which is probably the biggest surprise, but, I understand trying to blood them and get them in the system early, and they are lefties of course.
“I get some of the thinking.
“I haven’t spoken to Gareth about any of those thoughts, they’re just mine from the outside looking in.
“But either or both should be considered at very close quarters to be in the England thinking.”
Dyche feels Tarkowski is back to his best, and is probably better, given his experience: “I think really he’s returned to when he first came on the scene, I think last year was an odd year for a lot of players, a bit up and down, so I think all you’re really seeing is him return to where he was defensively, but, a more experienced version.
“So that angle to his performances, that desire...but now, when he needs to make simpler decisions, he can make them, because he’s got more experience.
“A better version of when he first came in, but that hunger and desire and that real edge to his performances has been very good, I think.”