Burnley captain Ben Mee one of best centre backs in the Premier League in recent seasons, insists boss Sean Dyche
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Dyche feels Mee has shown what he is all about on and off the pitch, and reiterated his belief that he can consider himself unlucky not to have earned recognition from the England set up.
Clarets captain Mee scored the winning goal at Crystal Palace on Monday night, his first goal in over three years, and immediately dedicated it to daughter Olive Grace, who is in hospital after being born 16 weeks early in May.
Mee said: “It’s been an emotional time for us as a family but she’s growing stronger each day,"
Last week, the way Mee conducted himself, in the aftermath of the aeroplane stunt before the game at former club Manchester City, drew praise from far and wide - with no one outside the club then aware what he was going through on a personal level.
And Dyche said: “It’s become more open to people, but it’s private in my world how I treat my players, it’s fair to say he gets support from the staff and me if and when it’s needed.
“He’s a very strong character in himself, he’s understanding of his private situation, and it will remain private unless he wants to speak about it.
“I’ve seen him mature on and off the pitch, and the way he conducts himself of what I’d expect of him, having known him a long time.
“He’s a top-class professional and a top-class fella.
“I know he’s got a good standing in the dressing room, rightly so, and the fans, and now with probably a wider audience because of his conduct and the way he deals with things.
“He’s a very balanced fella, and that’s probably some of my thinking in him being captain, along with his consistent performances as well.
“I have mentioned for a long, long time, I get it, he’s probably a bit older now, but you look at his performances, and I’m amazed he has t at least been talked about for the England set up.
“But, that’s by no means a question on Gareth, I get on very well with Gareth, and understand his reasons, Ben is slightly older and wiser now, not an up and comer, and Gareth is trying to build something beyond this moment, into the future.
“Just purely on form, then he would definitely be in a clutch of the best centre halves in the league at any given time over the last few seasons for me."