Vincent Kompany’s praise for Charlie Taylor in new role

It was praise indeed coming from one of the finest central defenders of the Premier League era.

By Chris Boden
Sunday, 31st July 2022, 10:25 am

Clarets boss Vincent Kompany sprang something of a surprise when he moved Charlie Taylor inside from his usual left back position for the first game of his reign, the 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town which kicked-off the new Championship season.

And in keeping a clean sheet, Taylor was part of a defence which only faced two shots in total all game – the fewest Burnley have given up since November 2011 against Ipswich Town.

Taylor was utilised in central defence in the behind-closed-doors training session against Newcastle United in Lisbon last Saturday, and Kompany – who attained legendary status in 11 years as a player with Manchester City – was delighted with what he saw against the Terriers.

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Danny Ward of Huddersfield Town is beaten to the ball by Charlie Taylor of Burnley during the Sky Bet Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Burnley at John Smith's Stadium on July 29, 2022 in Huddersfield, England. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Kompany said: “If he has never played there, I can’t say why.

“But he looked like a centre half.

“I have been in the position for a few years of my life, and I saw a centre half.”

When Taylor joined Burnley in the summer of 2017, after seeing out his contract at Leeds United, Sean Dyche also took the opportunity to look at him at centre back in pre-season, but that would be the last time.

Taylor played the first half of the 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo at Turf Moor alongside Kevin Long in the centre of defence.

He had come inside briefly in the friendlies at Alfreton Town and Nottingham Forest, but Dyche took the opportunity to look at how he fared there for a longer spell, before he reverted to left back after half-time.

Dyche explained: “Since we’ve had Charlie here, we’ve been impressed with his defending, his physicality.

“He’s quick and strong – we threw him in a couple of times in training and just liked the look of it.

“We said to him just to be open-minded.

“It doesn’t mean he’s going to play there, but we wanted another look at it.

“There’s no story there, we just said we needed to put minutes into him, to get used to what we are, not ‘oh, we’ve found a centre back’.

“That story’s not ready to write yet.

“Who knows, in the future it might be.

“There are times you need players to play in different positions.

"I don’t buy players specifically to play in different positions, but I like it if they’re open-minded.”