“I would certainly be feeling relaxed going onto a football pitch with him as my partner” - Sean Dyche on “top professional” James Tarkowski

Sean Dyche admits he would have loved to have played alongside James Tarkowski at centre back.
James Tarkowski denies Harvey BarnesJames Tarkowski denies Harvey Barnes
James Tarkowski denies Harvey Barnes

And he remains mystified as to why the 28-year-old has been left out of the England set up for almost three years.

Tarkowski captained Burnley last time out in their goal-less draw at home to Norwich City, after skipper Ben Mee suffered an ankle injury.

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And he is set to continue tomorrow at Manchester City, after Mee tested positive for COVID-19.

The former Oldham Athletic man has been a consistent performer in the top flight since the sale of Michael Keane to Everton in the summer of 2017, and was capped twice by England the following year, going on to be named on standby for the World Cup in Russia.

However, he hasn’t been involved since March 2019, when he was an unused substitute for the 5-1 win in Montenegro in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Nathan Collins, who made his senior Ireland bow as a substitute against Qatar this week, is set to continue alongside Tarkowski at the Etihad, and Dyche thinks the 20-year-old is learning from a top performer: “I think it is helpful, he (Tarkowski) has become a very rounded professional, and I think he is a top professional.

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“I think he has been excellent for us this season, and it has been a headscratcher for me over the last year or so how he has not been involved in the England set-up, but that is a different aspect to prove to them he can do what he can do.

“Even this season I think he has been excellent, against Norwich I thought he was outstanding, as he has been in a number of games this season.

”So to have him alongside you, if I was a slightly fitter, younger man I would certainly be feeling relaxed going onto a football pitch with him as my partner.”

Tarkowski has been one of a catalogue of centre backs linked with Newcastle United since their controversial takeover, and is in the last year of his contract, but, asked what he could see happening with him, Dyche replied: “I can see him continuing to be professional and committed and speaking to me when he needs to.”