Cork backed to shine after helping seal slot at Euro 2011

FOLLOWING his cameo role in England Under 21’s 2011 UEFA European Championship qualification success, Burnley boss Brian Laws is backing loan star Jack Cork to come back and shine for the Clarets.

Friday, 15th October 2010, 12:00 pm

The 21-year-old was given little over 10 minutes playing time by coach Stuart Pearce over the play-off double-header against Romania but, following his introduction in Botosani at the expense of Spurs’ Danny Rose, the Chelsea starlet played an integral role in maintaining England’s 2-1 aggregate lead in a tense finale.

Pearce’s youngsters will now join Iceland, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and hosts Denmark in the eight-team tournament in June. And Laws is gracious that he’s got his hands on a player that could be a huge part of that.

He said: “Jack’s a fantastic player and I’m surprised they didn’t start him because he’s probably one of their most experienced players. I know Stuart Pearce thinks highly of him. The fact that he’s been on the bench and come on shows what they think of the player and it’s great for him to be involved in the success that they’ve had.

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“That also gives us a double benefit; the player’s in good form and he’ll be on a high when he comes back. So you win both ways. It’s encouraging that we can attract players of his calibre to Burnley Football Club.

“Jack’s been outstanding in that he’s been very versatile, he’s not what I’d call an aggressive player but he’s very cultured, he reads the game extremely well and he has settled in. I think that’s great credit not just to Jack but to the players that have made him feel so comfortable that he’s playing his best football. If you’re happy in your surroundings, you play your best football and certainly he has been one of our most consistent players this season.”

The Under-21s will be looking to make amends for their 4-0 final defeat by Germany in the 2009 European Championship in Sweden. Now, with five-time winners Italy out of the competition along with the Netherlands, Sweden, France and defending champions Germany, Cork, should he be included in the squad, has a genuine opportunity to experience international success.

Laws added: “He’ll be pushing very hard to get into that squad. The England under 21s are the future of the game and to be part of that, I’m sure Jack will be relishing the prospect and looking forward to future squads. Certainly he’s one of the strongest members of the team.

“We’ve been delighted to capture him and his enthusiasm for this football club. He had so many choices in the summer from the Championship, it’s fantastic that he chose us above everybody else because we made him feel welcome. He enjoys the training and certainly he enjoys working with the players.”

Meanwhile, ahead of tomorrow’s n-power Championship fixture at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United, Dean Marney is hoping to keep his spot in that central midfield trio.

He said: “Everyone works hard in training and at the minute we’re playing three in midfield and I want to be one of those three. It’s a lot of competition but it’s a good, healthy competition. I’m really enjoying it.

“I missed out for a couple of games which was obviously disappointing but I just worked hard in training and got myself back in. It seems as though it’s between me and Grezza at the minute but everyone’s going to be under pressure because of the quality that we’ve got here.”

He added: “The team spirit is brilliant. It’s massively important; when we go over that white line for a game everyone’s giving everything for each other so it’s good. There certainly wasn’t the same team spirit at Hull.

“The season they went up there was but I think, from speaking to the lads there, they’ve got nothing near what we’ve got here. To be honest I don’t think many clubs will have the same team spirit as this club.”