Burnley defender James Tarkowski aims to emulate Michael Keane
James Tarkowski watched Michael Keane develop into a B#30million England international at Burnley – and now he wants to follow in his footsteps.
Keane’s form at Turf Moor last season, which saw him earn international recognition and a summer switch to Everton, restricted Tarkowski to just cameos from the bench in the Premier League until he started the final four games of the season.
Tarkowski has had to bide his time since signing from Brentford in early 2016 but he was always seen as the man to fill Keane’s void were he ever to depart, and the fact Sean Dyche is yet to sign a direct replacement in this window illustrates the belief in him around Turf Moor.
And Ben Mee’s new central-defensive partner hopes he can blossom in Lancashire in the same manner Keane did after he signed from Manchester United, initially on loan, three years ago.
“Looking at Keano’s path and how he’s done since coming to the club, I can only look at that and take positives out of it,” Tarkowski said ahead of Saturday’s visit of West Brom.
“He’s kept me out of the team, which wasn’t nice, but he’s really kicked on since he’s come here. I’ve felt a massive improvement in my game since I’ve come so it would be a nice target to look at that.
“It (an England call-up) is not something that I deem unrealistic over the next few years.”
While Keane’s primary focus is now on the Ronald Koeman revolution at Everton, he still found time to congratulate his old colleagues after their stunning win at Chelsea last weekend.
“He texted me on Saturday or Sunday, I think he lost half of his tooth in his game so he sent me a picture of his tooth and was just congratulating the lads,” Tarkowski revealed.
“They had a good result as well and it’s a great move for him, probably the perfect one in terms of looking to the World Cup next year. It’s nice for Keano to get to a team where he’s going to play week-in, week-out again.”
West Brom head coach Tony Pulis wants to keep Manchester City target Jonny Evans and insists the club do not need to sell the defender.
However, he admits every player has a price and has not ruled out the possibility of the former Manchester United player leaving The Hawthorns this month.
Pulis confirmed at his pre-match press conference on Friday morning that West Brom had rejected a bid, reported to be B#18million, from City for the 29-year-old Northern Ireland international.
City boss Pep Guardiola has already spent more than B#200million on new players this summer, including three full-backs, but is still thought to be keen to add a centre-back.
When asked about Evans, Pulis said: “They made an offer and we’ve turned it down.
“I think every player is for sale at the right price. It would be crazy to say a team like West Brom won’t sell if a team are going to put a huge amount of money in front of you.
“Market forces dictate but we don’t need to sell and we don’t want to sell, so we are not desperate for the money. Jonny is one of our best players and we’d love him to stay.
“It would need to be a very good offer. If that offer came in then we would sit down and talk to Jonny.”
Evans missed West Brom’s opening game of the season against Bournemouth with a hamstring injury and the centre-half remains a big doubt for the trip to Burnley.