Johann Berg Gudmundsson can join the pantheon of creative geniuses in the Premier League, according to Burnley boss Sean Dyche.
The Turf Moor chief believes in an unwritten list of criteria that players need to hit in order to be considered the cream of the crop, adding that the Icelandic winger is ticking a lot of the boxes.
Gudmundsson has been consistently productive for the Clarets, having a big hand in six goals in the top flight so far this season, with 12 assists on his CV since the start of last season.
Only Manchester City trio Leroy Sane (17), Kevin De Bruyne (16) and Raheem Sterling (13) have more in that time while Manchester United’s World Cup winner Paul Pogba is level.
“Johann continues to improve,” said Dyche.
“I think his mentality continues to improve and that’s important in a productive player.
“In the Premier League you’ve got to have that driving force inside you.
“You become a big player by doing good things in games and I think that comes with belief in your own ability.
“He continues to add layers of belief.
“You have to earn your spurs.
“There are patches when somebody becomes highlighted for a period, ‘this player is a really good player’, but I think year on year is when you really get recognised in the Premier League.”
Dyche added: “Are you doing it for six months?
“Are you doing it for nine months?
“A full season? Or are you doing it beyond that?
“He’s showing signs that he’s going beyond that now.
“He’s showing the signs of season into season.
“That’s when people start recognising you more because they say ‘hang on a minute, he’s not just a good couple of months’.
“He’s like a continued level of consistent performance and consistent actions, whether it be assists, important moments in games, goals.
“There are a number of different markers. He continues to do well.”
While Gudmundsson has jumped to the top of the assists chart this term, the 27-year-old has also delivered the ninth most crosses in the division with 42.
Dyche is confident that the former Charlton Athletic man will only keep getting better too.
He said: “That’s what we hope [he’ll keep getting better], that’s what he’s working towards and that’s what we as a team with him for.
“He’s certainly got the quality to and his mentality is continually improving.
“He has the belief in himself and belief in delivering at this level. The World Cup, the Euros and all those experiences will add to that.
“I think he’s a very, very good player and he continues to show that.”