Willie Irvine column: Burnley skipper Shackell deserves player of year honour (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Willie Irvine column: Burnley skipper Shackell deserves player of year honour
FROM day one of the season the players in this small squad have been magnificent.
When it comes to announcing the player of the year, my vote would go to all of the starting 11 that made promotion possible.
That cannot be done unfortunately, so my pick would be Jason Shackell for his captaincy, his reliability and most of all his defending.
Michael Duff would be a very close second in my book. At 36 years old he has had his finest season, and formed a fantastic partnership with skipper Shackell.
But most of all Sean Dyche has played a massive role in engineering this season’s success with his management, and I’m fully appreciative of the job he has done, with limited resources.
He recognised the faults in a team that he inherited from Eddie Howe and has transformed them from relegation contenders to a Premier League team.
He must be manager of the year.
Everything he has done this season has been so professional and every one of the players has responded.
Sam Vokes and Danny Ings did all the ground work with the goals for the majority of the campaign, but after injury to both Ashley Barnes came in and picked up where they left off.
Dyche’s January signing put one foot over the finishing line with a goal against Wigan which was worthy of the top flight. Michael Kightly followed up his wonderful winner at Blackpool which eased the tension by finishing the job with the second.
It had the fans already celebrating promotion at that point.
I erred on the side of caution and waited for the final whistle, and what an atmosphere that prompted at Turf Moor.
We haven’t heard those noise levels for a while but hopefully there will be plenty more to come.
I must admit, I expected a much closer game against Wigan, but the players showed why they have maintained a position of strength for the majority of the season by controlling the game from start to finish.
I never expected Premier League football to come round so soon for the Clarets, but the players have given 100 per cent all season, and it’s been wonderful to watch.
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