THEY say patience is a virtue.
And steadfast Clarets left back Brian Easton hopes he can now take his chance after a frustrating two years.
The 23-year-old was a £350,000 signing from Hamilton Academical on the eve of the Premier League campaign, but he has since gone on to make only 15 appearances for the club.
He has found Stephen Jordan and then Danny Fox in his way, but after last Thursday saw Fox sold to Championship rivals Southampton for £1.8m, the Scotland Under 21 international was thrust into the first team at Crystal Palace.
Easton has shown a refreshing attitude in this era of primadonnas, keeping his head down and hoping his hard graft would one day pay off.
And he intends to nail down a starting slot after being elevated to first choice left back: “I think it’s been quite frustrating for me here as I found myself on the sidelines, but I couldn’t complain too much because the boys that have played left back, including Foxy, have done well for the club.
“It’s all about keeping your head down and working away, and that’s what I’ve done.
“You didn’t really see Foxy being sold, but that happens in football, and this is my chance.
“I know if I’m not doing a job for the gaffer he won’t have any hesitation in pulling me out, so I have to keep my performances high.
“But it’s something to look forward to, it’s been a long wait, and hopefully I can cement my place now.”
Easton spent a period on loan back at Hamilton in his first season, and he was wondering whether that would be an option again.
However, he praised manager Eddie Howe for making him feel part of things, even when he struggled to make the matchday 16: “There were times when I wasn’t making the squad and it was getting frustrating for me, and you think about going out on loan and getting some games, but the manager has always spoken to me and let me know where I stand.
“He said not to get frustrated as he wanted me to play a part this season, and things like that make a big difference. It gives you a wee bit of hope and enthusiasm.
“The manager spoke to me before the season started, he had his team in mind for the first game, and he spoke to quite a few of the boys.
“I felt I’d done well pre-season, and he did as well, but it was a case of speaking to me and letting me know it wasn’t a case of me being dropped or anything.
“He told me to bide my time and keep focussed, and that’s what I’ve done, and thankfully my chance has come.
“I have to try to play well every week, to do well for the manager and for Burnley.
“It’s hard for players who don’t play, the main thing for a footballer is being in that starting line-up.
“But with this manager, he always keeps the boys involved that aren’t playing and makes sure their attitude is spot on.
“For myself, it’s something I enjoy, coming in every day, I love it, so I can’t complain, but I knew my chance could come any time, so you have to be ready.
“If you’re not, you’ll regret it. I’ve kept myself in good shape, and I think I’m ready to go and stamp my authority on the position.”
Easton had made 118 appearances for Hamilton before his move, and wasn’t used to not playing, and he added: “Now I’m in, I’m glad it’s worked out how it has.
“I played right away from my youth at Hamilton, playing every week, but coming here I didn’t play as many games as I hoped.
“With my position, if you’re not playing, it’s hard to get on the bench, so you either start or you’re not in the squad.
“Even on the bench you feel more of a part of it, but you can understand the manager wanting more attacking options.
“So it’s been about being patient, and I’ve always been happy here, with the staff, people around the place and the players in the dressing room.
“Hopefully that will be me taking my chance now.”
But without an orthodox left back to challenge him, there are still players capable of filling that role, and he knows he has to perform: “It makes a big difference coming in and knowing that you’re working towards a starting place, but it only takes a few bad performances, - if I think for a second it’s my spot, I’m not going to lose it, that’s when I will.
“I don’t think that will be too much of a problem for me though, I’ll be working hard for myself and the team, and hopefully if I get a few games under my belt, I’ll continue to improve and do well.
“I’m obviously glad to get my chance, my that competition keeps you on your toes, I like to think we’ve had some good left backs and I’ve maybe helped them because they knew I was there if their performance level dropped. Unfortunately for me, that didn’t really happen, but it ended up being quite good for the team.”