DEFENDER Ben Mee admits it was a no-brainer to join Burnley on a permanent basis.
The England Under-21s cap agreed a move from Manchester City on Tuesday, signing a three-and-a-half-year deal, after initially joining on a season-long loan.
And while the 22-year-old is a life-long Blue, he had no hesitation in making the switch to Turf Moor – and hopes to lock horns with City one day in the Premier League.
Ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Derby County, Mee said: “It feels great, I’ve had a long time at City, but it’s great to join a club like Burnley and I hope to stay here a long time.
“The feel of the place is good, and the people here are all great, so it’s the perfect place for me to come. It’s not far from where I live either, so it’s ideal.
“I’m going to be playing first team football, so that was the main thing, it’s what I want to do, so it wasn’t a tough decision.
“The only thing was I’d been at City for a while, but playing first team football means a lot.”
Changing times at City have seen opportunities for the club’s much-vaunted Academy diminish, and Mee accepts he had to move to further his career.
He said: “I was a City fan and I loved being there, but I have no problem moving, I just want to do my best here.
“When I was coming up through the Academy, a lot of lads graduated into the first team, and Micah Richards is still there, there was a lot more opportunity then, but that’s football, it’s hard at the top, and they want to get there quickly, and they’re doing it.
“I managed to make one first team appearance. I would have liked to have made more but that’s the way it goes.
“I had a great time there but this is a new chapter.
“I still want to see them do well, but I also want to do well myself, it was my aim to play for City, but I might have to go another route. I’m happy to be here playing first team football.
“I’d like to get back up to the Premier League and play against City for Burnley, that would be the best thing to happen.”
And he feels promotion is a possibility this season after a run of seven wins in nine games moved the club to within three points of the play-offs: “The Premier League is where everyone wants to be, and hopefully we can do it this season, but if not, hopefully we’ve got a really good, young squad which is only going to get better, so the next couple of years should be really exciting.
“We’ve got a few older lads as well, and it’s a good mix, w’re all learning at the same time and we’ve all come on immensely this season, and that’s showed.
“We’ll grow more and hopefully push on.
“With the young players and a young manager, it’s set up to do well, and the ambition is here. I’m delighted to be a part of it.
“We’re going to follow his path, and we all believe in his way of doing it. He likes to play football, which is a big thing. I’ve done that through all my time at City and that’s the way I play, so it’s ideal.”
Burnley go into tomorrow’s game without Martin Paterson and Junior Stanislas, who both suffered hamstring injuries in the 2-0 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Scans on Tuesday revealed Paterson may be sidelined for less than a month, however, Stanislas faces up to eight weeks out.
On the plus side, forward Danny Ings pulled on the shirt for the first time on Tuesday night for the reserves, scoring in a 2-1 win over Preston at Chorley, and assistant boss Jason Tindall hopes he can now step things up after five months out with a knee injury suffered shortly after signing from Bournemouth: “One thing’s for sure we won’t rush Danny back.
“We can’t get carried away – he’s only played 30 minutes of football - but we’re delighted with his comeback and it’s a step in the right direction for him.”