Sean Dyche is glad to see his prophecy paying off after Michael Keane earned his place on the roll-call of top young players in the Premier League.
The Burnley boss revealed that part of his bargaining plea to Keane to bring the defender to Turf Moor from Manchester United was the promise of the chance to enhance his game.
And Keane’s progress since joining the Clarets in September, 2014 has been reflected in his place on the six-man shortlist – alongside Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Leroy Sane and Jordan Pickford – for the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year award.
“He’s in good company, that’s for sure, and I think he deserves to be in that company,” said Dyche.
“I think he’s having a very strong season. He has developed well over the past two-and-a-half seasons and I’m pleased, because part of my sales pitch to get him here was that he is in a group that will develop and he will be a big part of that.
“So I’m pleased from our point of view that’s rung true for him.”
Dyche added: “He deserves a lot of credit. Team is the most important thing but there are still individuals within it who have to perform and have to perform well, and he has certainly done that.
“He knows he’s in a group that helps him enhance himself and I know he respects that.
“Well done to him. He’s performed very well this season, and last season, and he’s gradually been growing and improving all the time.
Michael Keane joined Burnley on loan before signing permanently in January, 2015
“It’s another marker for him, to be recognised by his peers, and I think it’s well deserved.”
Keane is set to extend his ever-present record this season when the Clarets go to in-form Everton on Saturday.
But the trip to Goodison Park may come too soon for Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who got through 90 minutes of a Development Squad game on Tuesday but has not figured at first-team level since February because of a knee injury.
“Johann might need another one,” said Dyche, who confirmed that midfielder Steven Defour will be back in his squad after missing last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough.
“It’s been quite a while now, but he’s been training with us and had the game, so he’s in good shape.
“Steven has had a knock but he will be back fit for selection. He has trained all week.”