Burnley winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson hoping to steer clear of the sidelines this season

Johann Berg Gudmundsson is hoping to play a more prominent role in Burnley’s Premier League campaign this time around.
Burnley's Johann Berg Gudmundsson tries to stop Arsenal's Kieran Tierney in his tracks at Turf Moor.Burnley's Johann Berg Gudmundsson tries to stop Arsenal's Kieran Tierney in his tracks at Turf Moor.
Burnley's Johann Berg Gudmundsson tries to stop Arsenal's Kieran Tierney in his tracks at Turf Moor.

The Icelandic winger is keeping everything crossed in a bid to avert another spell on the sidelines this season.

Gudmundsson, 30, has had very little luck on the injury front with a number of repetitive ailments plaguing his time at Turf Moor.

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The ex-Charlton Athletic winger has aggravated groin and thigh strains over the last two terms while a knee injury has also caused disruption.

“It is extremely difficult, as a footballer all you want to do is be on the pitch every day and to see the boys on there and you not be able to do it is tough,” he said.

“It happened too many times for me and it can be extremely tough and it can get in your head.

“It is about doing your best to get back on the pitch and play as many minutes as possible and to get a full pre-season as I did was a massive help.”

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According to the database on transfermarkt, the Reykjavík-born international has missed 58 games through injury since his switch in the summer of 2016.

He’s managed just 34 games in the top flight over the past couple of seasons, which equates to 44.7% of the Clarets’ obligations in the league.

However, after a summer off, having sat out friendlies against Mexico, Faroe Islands and Poland, Gudmundsson has started to build a head of steam.

The former AZ Alkmaar man has started all five games so far while adding two appearances in World Cup qualifiers for his nation.

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He said: “Iceland had some games but I decided not to be available for those games and I talked to the manager about that.

“I think that was definitely the right decision and it has been a long time since I have had a full summer of hardly doing anything and that was extremely good for me I think.

“It has been good, I had a good pre-season as did the whole squad. It is just about being on the pitch as much as possible and training every day and that is what I have been doing so it has been good.

“I have had a few years where I have been struggling with a few injuries so hopefully I can keep myself on the pitch.”

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The return of ex-England international Aaron Lennon coupled with the arrival of former Lyon winger Maxwel Cornet has given Gudmundsson an extra incentive to take care of his body.

Gudmundsson is determined to stay fit and well in his battle to keep hold of his shirt, though he welcomes the extra competition.

“When you are in the Premier League you should always have competition for places and we maybe lacked that a bit last season so it is great to get that,” he said.

“You have to raise your levels in training and games and that is good for everybody. Competition is healthy and hopefully it will do good for the squad.”