Burnley boss delighted with competitive edge between left backs Charlie Taylor and Erik Pieters
It’s currently the toughest selection call Sean Dyche has to make.
And he is delighted with the competitive nature of his two senior left backs Charlie Taylor and Erik Pieters.
Taylor ultimately made the number three shirt his own after arriving from Leeds United in 2017, patiently waiting for his moment before unseating a fabulous servant in Stephen Ward.
Holland international Erik Pieters came in from Stoke City in the summer of 2019, and has not let Dyche down in a variety of roles, while ensuring Taylor has had to be at his best when fit to retain the jersey.
Pieters retained his place in the starting line up at Southampton a week ago, despite the return of Taylor after a month out with a hamstring problem.
But Pieters was forced off just after the half hour with a similar complaint.
Both are fully fit for tomorrow’s important Turf Moor fixture with Newcastle United, and you would struggle to get a cigarette paper between them, in terms of who gets the nod.
Dyche spoke about their competitive rivalry over the last two seasons: “Both good players, Erik slightly older and more experienced, but a very good pro - immaculate really.
“I ask a lot of Erik, last season he played in three or four different positions and always adapted and put his lot in.
“Chas has been unfortunate, he’s had a couple of injuries, and was going ever so well before the first injury.
“They’re both good players.
“You’re always looking for one to shine against the other, but Erik seems to find a way of being able to do the job.
“He always comes in and does well.
“When he does, he earns the right to play of course.
“But Chas is always knocking on the door equally when fit.
“I want that competitive edge.”
Pieters, at £1.5m, has been terrific value for money - a good guy in the dressing room, not one to sulk when not starting every week, and you can generally hang your hat on him when he plays.
Pound for pound, has he been one of Dyche’s better signings?: “It’s hard to judge, to be fair, you look back at Jonah (David Jones), Tom Heaton, Scotty Arfield, back in that era, and it’s hard to go against those three.
“You can look at it different ways, not just the ones who came in for a free, the ones bought for a fee, various players have done well for us, not just ex-players, the ones here currently as well.
“For what we have to do with the finance available, I think we’ve done well over time, a lot of good players have come in and Erik is certainly in a group of people who have done really well.”