Burnley defender James Tarkowski is becoming the full package having worked with Sean Dyche and Gareth Southgate

Burnley centre back James Tarkowski feels he’s becoming a more complete package due to tailoring his roles towards both club and country.

Burnley centre back James Tarkowski in action against Brighton at Turf Moor
Burnley centre back James Tarkowski in action against Brighton at Turf Moor

The 26-year-old might be coached by former defenders at both domestic and international level, but his job specification alters in each respect.

Tarkowski has only played 151 minutes for England in games against Italy and Switzerland, operating in a couple of positions across a back three, where the emphasis during each camp has been to get comfortable on the ball and play out from the back.

The former Brentford man has also enjoyed having the ball at his feet for the Clarets in the Premier League this term but, statistically, his game is categorised under the more ‘old school’ art of defending.

Tarkowski was top of the blocks in the top flight with 47 prior to Burnley’s trip to Stamford Bridge last night, seven ahead of team mate Ben Mee.

He had made the second most clearances in the division (203), just 16 short of AFC Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, and he was third in the pecking order for headed clearances (119).

On working with Sean Dyche and Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, he said: “It helps but I don’t really look at it in that way. I just see them as the two coaches that I’m working under.

“It probably helps because I get a bit more coaching from the two of them. The gaffer here has improved me massively defensively since I’ve been here and there’s a bit of a different style with England.

“We’re told to work with the ball in terms of playing out from the back a bit more, but I enjoy both styles. The defensive side of my game has come on ten-fold since I came here.


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“You’ve got to adapt, it’s part of being a footballer. You’re never going to work in the same system under the same manager throughout your career.

It would be very rare if you did.

“You’ve got to be able to adapt to those situations and I love working with both managers. I’ve improved so much and being part of that England set up is a great experience and I love going there.

“If I look from the player I was when I joined to the player I am now, the improvement has been massive.


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“It gives you a platform to go and perform and show your ability every weekend but, also, in training you’re always looking to improve. The manager and the coaching staff allow you to do that.”