Drinkwater forgiven as Dyche defends Chelsea man over nightclub incident

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Sean Dyche will afford Danny Drinkwater another chance at Burnley after the midfielder was injured in an incident outside a nightclub in Manchester.

The on-loan Chelsea man was pictured with facial injuries after allegedly being involved in a drunken dispute with another footballer and also suffered an ankle problem that is set to rule him out for several weeks.

Dyche is known as a manager who values professionalism highly but, publicly, he declined to criticise Drinkwater, saying: “They (footballers) are actually human beings, they do have private lives, which sometimes are not private, obviously. And sometimes they get in scrapes.

“He’s certainly old enough and wise enough to know you do whatever you can to not get in scrapes but sometimes it happens.

“We’ve been big over our time here – you can’t just talk about development when it’s good news, you also have to work with players if things are not quite as good.

“It’s been more that sort of situation, have a chat with him and say ‘what happened first of all, what was the situation that led to it. OK, let’s move away from that, now where to do we go from here’. So I think that’s where we’re at.”

Dyche declined to reveal whether Burnley have punished Drinkwater, who pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge earlier this year, saying: “Just talked to him, the rest of it’s private.”

The 29-year-old made his Clarets debut in the Carabao Cup defeat by Sunderland last month having missed the start of the season to build up his fitness after being frozen out of the picture at Chelsea.

Dyche hopes he will be back working with the rest of the squad in a couple of weeks and he is then likely to need more minutes in reserve games before he is considered for the Premier League side.

The Burnley boss insisted the incident would not be a black mark against Drinkwater, saying: “I’m not too worried about things in the past, we try and look for the things that we can sort out for the future.

“This is just a bump in the situation. We want to make sure he gets back to being fully fit, playing well, the eye of the tiger that it takes to be a top player.

“He wants to be back there playing well. He’s had a tough couple of years football wise, not playing much. He wants the hunger and desire to flood back into him and you have to earn that.

“You have to earn the right to bring back those feelgood factors and deliver the performances, and that’s what we want from him. He was doing, until this situation, he was getting on with it, he was working hard in his training. I’m sure he will do as soon as he’s fit again.”

A fit and motivated Drinkwater should be an undoubted asset for Burnley, who face Brighton in the Premier League this weekend.

The Clarets lost a midfielder just prior to the international break with Steven Defour having his contract terminated by mutual consent after two injury-plagued years.

The Belgian was a key figure in the Burnley side until he suffered a serious knee injury in January 2018, and he had only just returned from that when he was sidelined by a calf problem that also required surgery.

Dyche said: “I think it was a number of things – his personal situation, his injury situation, the club wanted to do the business side of it. It’s a shame because he was playing so, so well when he got the injury initially.”

 

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