"I'd like to think he took a few things away that will help him along the way" - Sean Dyche on Steven Defour's coaching stint back at Burnley

Sean Dyche takes great pride in helping add to former Claret Steven Defour's thinking on football, as he starts his coaching journey.

By Chris Boden
Monday, 21st February 2022, 12:30 pm

Defour, who won 52 caps for Belgium, joined Burnley from Anderlecht in the summer of 2016, for a then record fee of around £7.5m, and made 58 appearances, scoring three goals, before returning home to Royal Antwerp in September 2019.

He retired last year after only 12 appearances with Antwerp and two more with Mechelen, where it all started for the midfield maestro,, and where he is currently an assistant coach.

The former Porto man spent time back at Burnley earlier this month, as part of his studies for his Continued Professional Development to enhance his coaching, taking in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Turf Moor.

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Sean Dyche and Steven Defour

On his return home, he said, in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. “It felt like coming home. I still know three quarters of the people there from my period as a player.

“The manager, Sean Dyche, allowed me to follow everything. I attended staff meetings, participated in the preparation for the duels against Man United and Liverpool… ‘So, Steven, what do you think?’ they asked. I learned a lot. Burnley was the best period of my playing career. Both in sports and privately. The fans appreciate me there.

"I have always kept in touch with the coach. I regularly sent Dyche a message before a match. ‘Good luck, gaffer'.

“Last June, just before I started the season at KV Mechelen as an assistant, he proposed to participate in the preparation in Burnley and then see what was possible, but that was difficult due to the corona restrictions."

Dyche was more than happy to welcome back Defour, and may take the opportunity to do similar over in Belgium at a later date.

He joked: "I said I have no clue what you're doing here mate, you'll learn nothing, but he insisted on coming down!

"Seriously, he said he'd learnt a lot.

"He came as part of his CPD, they go and have a week somewhere, and he was always intrigued by what he learnt here, as he called it, winning without the ball, stuff like that.

"As a ball player he was quite intrigued by that.

"He just said could he come in, and we said yeah, open house, come and look at all we do, and I'll hopefully get over there and see what they do, not for a week, maybe a couple of days when I can.

"I think it was important we let him into everything, I take great value in the people who have worked for us, we've had other ex-players, Ross Wallace is now involved with the youth system and others have come in and done stuff for their A licence, B licence, David Edgar has been back a few times.

"It's not just Steven, I wouldn't want people to think just because he was a big name, that's nothing to do with that, he just said could he come, and I said absolutely."

And Defour was impressed with the detail which went into preparations: "It's that weird thing, when you're a player, they go 'we do this, that and the other', and when they get on this side, they go 'oh wow, I didn't think all that went into that'.

"We gave him a bit of friendly fire, it's fair to say, about his own experiences here when he was moaning and groaning, and he was laughing.

"It's good to share the other view with someone, when they get behind the scenes and they go 'I get it, there's a lot more goes into that than I ever thought there was.'

"That's refreshing for us sometimes."

Defour clearly retains a fondness about the club, even tweeting about the 3-0 win at Brighton on Saturday: "Things you love to see #utc @BurnleyOfficial"

And Dyche added: "I think he learned in a different way about his career here, and I take great respect from that. He came in a bit kerfuddled I think, and once he gripped it, he loved it.

"He made that clear to us, he said when he truly understood why you needed to be as fit as you did to be in the Premier League and why you need to do what you do off the ball as well as on it, he said he really formed a different opinion of what he thought about football.

"That's great to hear from a very experienced player, a Belgium international, and his open-mindedness as well.

"He was really good and he said he really enjoyed it, so I'd like to think he took a few things away that will help him along the way."