Vincent Kompany on Matt Lowton and Kevin Long's Burnley futures
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A dozen or so senior professionals have left the club since relegation from the Premier League, with 10 new faces coming in so far this summer.
So far, Lowton and Long have not been available to Kompany, Lowton for the first two games as he completed his ban for being dismissed at Aston Villa in the penultimate match of last term, and Long with injury.
In the pair’s absence, Kompany has added Vitinho to the options at right back, while CJ Egan-Riley can also play there, while Long is now up against Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Luke McNally, Egan-Riley as well as left Charlie Taylor, who has started the first two games inside at centre back.
Both have a year remaining on their contracts at the club, Lowton having been at Burnley since the summer of 2015, and Long since January 2010, but with Lowton now available for Friday’s trip to Watford, Kompany said of his situation: "Lowts is an experienced player and as the age comes down in the group then those players become more valuable.
"But as for what Lowts has to do and will be meaning for our squad, that is a conversation I am very open on with my players.
"Most players I would like to think will know exactly what I think and why, and with Lowts it is the same.
For me the most important thing is that I have the conversation with the player first, and with Lowts, and with this being Burnley, I prefer that we talk as straight as we can.
"So I did speak to Lowts, and he knows that his minutes will be limited here, but the way he is training and the way he is conducting himself, it is about performance, and as long as a player is at the club, I go with what I see, and he is hungry and on a mission.
"And I like that side, because anything I say is only based on what I see, and Lowts is definitely in a positive moment.”
Long is in a different boat as he is still out injured, and Kompany added: “He’s longer term, it’s not the worst case but one where you need to take your time.
“I’ve worked very little with Longy, and any conversation I would have I would have with any player first, before the press.
“In this case he just needs to get back fit, and when he’s fit, I’m no different from any other manager, I go with what I see, I try to tell the players what I think, and I don’t make any judgements that are set in stone, I go with what I see in the moment.”
But, with Kompany keen on bolstering his centre back unit, he referenced both Lowton and Long as possible solutions: "A key part of it is to find a balance between the players we’ve already got and the game time, making sure that we’re strong enough, and if I follow the progress of our team, I think it’s fair to say we have been defending well, in our own way.
“It has been effective, there’s been blocks, the line has worked hard, and we’ve got as back up lads like CJ Egan-Riley and Luke McNally, potentially guys like Lowton and Long, so I can’t give you a straight answer because it’s not that straight, it’s just making sure we’re covered enough for the long run but also making sure we’re not blocking anyone that is doing well, and we’re discussing this day in, day out.”