Clarets defender James Tarkowski in line for England return?

Burnley’s James Tarkowski feels that he’s performing back at a level worthy of an international recall.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 4:30 pm
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: Tom Heaton of England in action during the international friendly match between England and Spain at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The 26-year-old was on standby for the FIFA World Cup in Russia, a position he was forced to retract after undergoing a hernia operation.

The central defender has made two starts for England so far, both under Gareth Southgate, and he may have played himself in to contention for inclusion in the latest squad.

Southgate will reveal his picks tomorrow ahead of the Three Lions’ European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month.

England's James Tarkowski Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport International Friendly - England v Italy - Tuesday 27th March 2017 - Wembley Stadium - London World Copyright © 2018 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com

Tarkowski, who has played in friendlies against Italy and Switzerland, said: “I’d be more than happy to turn up for my country if called up.

“I feel like I am getting back to where I want to be and performing at a level where I need to be so if the call comes I will happily go. But right now I am just happy playing for Burnley, feeling fit and enjoying my football.”

The former Brentford centre back has been one of the busiest and most effective performers defensively in the Premier League so far this season.

Tarkowski has made 43 blocks to date, the highest number in the top flight, he’s second to AFC Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake in clearances made (183) and the third most headed clearances with 106.

“When I had surgery and came back initially I had a bit of fitness to get back as I had missed a bit of training before that and it took a bit of time,” said Tarkowski.

“I wasn’t always pleased with my performances but I just feel comfortable out there now. I’m enjoying being part of the team and working hard and getting the rewards for it.”