Few clubs have retained an old-fashioned following quite like Burnley. The Lancashire club have a cult following with their fanbase making a trip to Turf Moor a tough task for even the strongest of sides. Despite having been relegated and promoted back to the top flight several times, Burnley’s grit and determination has seen the club push forward to establish themselves firmly as top flight regulars. This was earmarked with a best ever finish of 7th in the 2017/18 season and even allowed them one campaign in the UEFA Europa League. With all that in mind, who are the best players to feature for Burnley in the Premier League?
Burnley have enjoyed nurturing several promising keepers through recent times at Turf Moor but none have been more impressive than Nick Pope. Pope’s hard work and patience paid off as he got his chance to shine after regular keeper Tom Heaton got injured at the start of the 2017-18 season. This allowed Pope to show what he could do display excellent agility and reactions and delivering repeatedly against the best in the country. This meant that Pope retained his spot in the squad after Heaton’s return and even displaced Joe hart when Pope returned from a long injury lay-off in 2019. His excellent work has seen Pope become a regular part of the England team too cementing his superstar status with the club. If you also add 2 Burnley Player of the Year awards in 2018 and 2020 and you see why he has become such an integral part of the side.
James Tarkowski is someone who really had to grift to get his spot in the big time. After working hard with both Oldham then Brentford, Tarkowski moved to Burnley in 2016 when they were still in the EFL Championship. However, Tarkowski’s fearless nature has made a difference even in the Premier League shutting down and stopping many of the best strikers in the world today. It’s why he has featured in most games for Burnley since their promotion in 2017 and has never looked out of place when giving his all on the pitch. Who says hard work doesn’t pay off!
Ben Mee is one of the few players who have stuck with Burnley through thick and thin. Having joined the club in 2012, Mee’s physical style in the air and understanding of the game has allowed him to shine no matter what type of opposition he goes against. Mee’s composure is also been a big part of his game meaning that he has hardly missed a game for The Clarets for nearly a decade. It’s why their long-serving club captain is a cult favourite with fans at Turf Moor and is well-respected both off and on the pitch. With over 330 games for Burnley, very few players will challenge Mee for longevity and loyalty to the club anytime soon.
Johann, or Joey, Gudmunsson was no stranger to English football before joining Burnley in 2016. The move to Lancashire from Charlton gave the Iceland international a proper way to showcase his skills to the world – and that is what he has done. Gudmunsson’s technical prowess has often been understated but his ability to find passes anywhere on the pitch has been crucial for Burnley to remain in the top flight season after season. His passing abilities has also made him a vital set-piece taker where his menacing corners and free kicks have allowed Burnley’s physical team to strike unexpectedly and pull off big wins. A huge player when on form.
When people think that physical and powerful strikers can’t succeed in the modern game, just look at what Ashley Barnes has achieved. For nearly a decade, Barnes has used his predatory instincts and powerful frame to constantly score vital goals when the time comes. His coolness under pressure also has helped him score time and time again with a return of 12 goals in the 2018-19 season proof of this fact. With over 40 goals for The Clarets in the Premier League, Barnes has often made the difference between victory and defeat when it mattered most.
Many thought it might have been a gamble to sign Chris Wood having seen him struggle in the Premier League for several clubs in the past. How wrong those critics were! Wood’s time in the EFL Championship helped the New Zealander put all his skills into an all-round game and made him a different player when he moved to the club in 2016. Wood’s composure and finishing abilities were much more rounded making him the perfect player to lead the line. In every season for Burnley, Wood notched up double figures for the club including 14 goals in the 2019-20 season. It’s why with 49 goals, he is the club’s all-time leading scorer in the English top flight and a proof that good things come to those who wait!