Clarets boss Sean Dyche believes Dean Marney’s professionalism will see him return better than ever after his cruciate knee ligament injury.
Marney was ruled out for the season last Tuesday having suffered the problem in the 2-2 draw with West Brom at Turf Moor 48 hours earlier.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, when talking about the return of 25-year-old Theo Walcott from a similar injury said: “We know deep studies show that the players around 25 with that kind of injury, they come back as normal.
“When you are over 30, over 29 you do not ever come back exactly the same. But between 25 and 28 you come back to the level you had before.”
Marney - due to see a specialist this week - is now 31, but Dyche, asked if he can come back stronger, said: “Absolutely. That may have been an opinion, I don’t know what the medical evidence suggests - Arsene might be right.
“But I know the type Deano is, his physicality is second to none, and when they’re lean and fit, like he is, then they don’t have any major issues coming back.
“That’s been my experience over the years. The science has moved on, the recovery strategies have moved on, the health and dietary side has moved on...all the care for players to recover has moved on so well, so I’m certainly not overthinking his journey back.”
Michael Duff suffered a cruciate injury back in 2007, aged 30, and recovered to play some of the best football of his career, and Dyche added: “It does give you time for reflection, to look at it, to learn in a different way.
“When you’re older, watching the game, you reflect on it differently, so we’ll see as time goes on, but I’ve no reason to doubt his journey back.”
Marney’s is the third cruciate injury Burnley have suffered in less than 12 months, with striker Sam Vokes - 25 - hurt against Leicester City at the end of March last year, before centre back Kevin Long - 24 - picked up a similar setback on New Year’s Day at Newcastle United.
Vokes has since returned to fitness, making seven appearances, including a start in the FA Cup third round replay defeat at Spurs.