Vincent Kompany will ensure January signing Hjalmar Ekdal reaches the "best level" after encouraging Burnley bow at Norwich City
Vincent Kompany has deployed seven different centre back partnerships across all competitions this season.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Jordan Beyer, Charlie Taylor, CJ Egan-Riley, Luke McNally, Ameen Al-Dakhil and, now, Hjalmar Ekdal have all had their moments at the heart of the Clarets' defence.
Both January signings have made their debuts since making moves from Sint-Truiden and Djurgardens respectively, earning clean sheets alongside Borussia Monchengladbach loan ace Beyer.
Al-Dakhil, 20, was first up when helping the Germany Under 21 international shut Ipswich Town out during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round tie at Portman Road last month.
And then Ekdal was handed his chance as the Championship leaders won for the ninth time on the bounce in the league, outclassing the Tractor Boys' rivals, Norwich City, at Carrow Road.
"They're intelligent players and that helps," said Kompany. "They communicate, they understand when asked to do certain tasks and they've got the athleticism. In times when they're not quite in the right position, or they haven't done something perfect, they're able to compensate.
"They're centre backs who are quite mobile, you could go on a run in the forest and they'll run with the midfielders. That helps and makes the chain a bit stronger."
The two-time Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month added: "For me it is the bigger picture of the squad. We have been probably heavily reliant on Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Jordan Beyer who came in and had to establish themselves during the season. And we've been reliant on Charlie Taylor and his performances.
"With the injury to Taylor we decided to be proactive and you saw Ameen Al-Dakhil with a really good performance against Ipswich and Ekdal with a really good performance this week and all of a sudden we have a competitive backline which is good for the future."
Ekdal, a Sweden international defender, who contributed to 27 clean sheets across the board during his stay in Stockholm, marked his bow with the third and final goal in Burnley's clinical display against the Canaries.
The 24-year-old guided the ball past Dutchman Tim Krul from close range after Ian Maatsen had kept Johann Berg Gudmundsson's corner alive.
"You can't have many more difficult games than Norwich away, when they had a bit of momentum," Kompany said. "If he's going to improve from this level — given he's only 24 and there's plenty of margin to improve — it's a good start.
"I wouldn't be able to name a lot of things that he's done wrong. As you get to work with players you find these things out, because nobody's perfect, so I'll try to ensure that he can get to the best level he can be."