Tendayi Darikwa’s runs down the right hand side have already endeared him to the Clarets faithful.
The 23-year-old has acclimatised well to life in the Championship following his summer move from League 1 Chesterfield.
He scored his first goal for the club in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Reading, and the Nottingham-born right back already feels he is developing under manager Sean Dyche and his staff: “Defensively I think my game has improved working with the manager and the coaches here and hopefully I can continue to improve. That’s what I want to do.
“I’m enjoying my football at the moment. I’m just trying to improve every day working with the coaches and the rest of my team-mates. Hopefully I can keep progressing and if I can stay in the team that’s the main thing for me.”
While the coaching pointers and game experience are helping, Darikwa can also feel fellow summer signing Matt Lowton breathing down his neck.
Lowton arrived for an initial £1m from Aston Villa, but missed the start of the season with a shin problem.
The former Sheffield United man has been on the bench for the last four games after recovering, and Darikwa said: “He’s training every day and training is competitive. Everyone’s nearly back from injury.
“I think it’s just about hopefully putting in performances like I did on Saturday and hopefully the manager will pick me for the next game.
“I think competition for places brings out the best in players, certainly for myself.
“I know that if I’m having bad games and training poorly that Lowts is ready to play so I’ve just got to worry about myself and try to keep improving.”
Darikwa, who was selected for Zimbabwe’s Afcon game with Guinea last month, might have opened his Burnley goal account against the Royals, but he would have swapped it for a win: “It’s a special moment for me to get my first goal for the football club, but it’s irrelevant if you get nothing out of the game. We’ve just got to dust ourselves down and move on to Friday at Rotherham.”
The Burnley fans have taken to Darikwa, and he thanked them for their support: “The fans have been great from the first day I signed. I played the last pre-season friendly against Bradford and ever since then they’ve taken to me really well and that’s obviously pleasing on a personal note.”
Darikwa even defended their honour at the final whistle as Reading striker Nick Blackman’s celebrations boiled over: “It was nothing, just handbags, you know what footballers are like.
“I saw him giving a bit to the fans and I don’t really respect players who do that.
“There was no need for it, so I thought I’d just walk straight past him and leave him hanging.”