'Maxwel adds to healthy-looking balance of squad' - Burnley boss Sean Dyche
Maxwel Cornet was on the bench at Everton on Monday night, having had only one training session with his new teammates.
And fellow summer arrivals Nathan Collins, who returned early from his first international call with the Republic of Ireland, and Connor Roberts, who hadn’t played since Wales’ Euro 2020 exit in the last 16, both played 45 minutes in the Under 23s’ friendly defeat to Port Vale on Tuesday.
There will be competition in all areas when all are accustomed to their new club, and Dyche said: “I think when everyone is fit and adapted to what it is as a group, then I think there’s a healthy-looking balance.
“We were working on that balance, not just the age balance, but positional balance, and I think we’re getting there, and more or less have competition we’d want to have, and key competition, and Maxwel certainly adds to that, Connor Roberts, as he’s maturing, and Nathan as he adapts to the challenge.”
Cornet and Roberts are full internationals, with Collins now in the senior picture with Ireland, and all three are 25 or younger.
While the lowering of the average age of the squad was necessary, the three were signed on ability, not necessarily their international pedigree or potential sell on fee – with some suggestions of a Moneyball-type model coming into play under new owners.
Dyche said: “I don’t think it’s that relevant, I think it’s good that they are international players, in the sense it makes them more rounded, more understanding of the game, cultural differences, the challenge of travelling etc, which all help, but we have players who have grown into international players as well, which is equally a good experience.
“I don’t think we’d sign players purely because they are recognised internationally, but it’s good experience and a different part of their learning curve.
“It’s a good tool to have, if we can attract that type of player.”
Burnley fans are particularly excited about the prospect of seeing Cornet, although Dyche is expected to be patient with the club’s first significant signing from abroad in five years: “He has had one training session and our history with players suggests we make them and not break them.
“I think that is the key, making him a Burnley player and allowing him the freedom to do that, but I think it is a big ask to have one training session and then be thrown into Everton away.
“It is about getting him use to the group, familiarised with how we work – we will do some analysis with him – and educate him and his English has got to improve as well.
“It might take a little bit of time but we are happy with that signing and him and we will integrate him into the group very quickly.
“I would hope he will settle well and I am sure we will do everything we can to help him do that.”
As regards where he will be used, Dyche added: “We’re very open-minded at the minute with Maxwel, he’s played a number of positions, he’s learned the game at a good club like Lyon, over the seasons, and is still relatively young, got in the side quite early, so has adapted to difference challenges.
“We’ll certainly speak to him about it, he only came in last Thursday, but we’re open-minded."