SEAN Dyche has told his Belgian midfielder Steven Defour to use his friend Kevin De Bruyne’s improvement from his first Premier League season as inspiration.

The £7.5million summer signing has been an unused substitute for the recent away trips to Stoke City and West Ham, despite remaining a starter at Turf Moor.

But the former Anderlecht man is yet to complete 90 minutes in a Burnley shirt and Dyche said the midfielder was continuing to get used to life both in the Premier League and in a Clarets side that rarely has more of the ball than the opposition.

And the Burnley boss admitted it had been hard for 28-year-old Defour to sit out games recently as he continues to adapt to life in the English top flight.

“I’ve spoken to Steven about it,” said Dyche. “It’s a different journey through the Premier League, it’s physical, it’s fast. I’ve seen him play at Anderlecht, it’s a different ball game there. It’s slow, it’s methodical, with pockets of good tempo.

“It’s a different culture of football there than it is here. 

“The Premier League is still full of quality but it’s hard and fast and the stats prove that.

“There’s an adaptation physically and to play with us because we don’t always dominate the ball, but we didn’t in the Championship either and we haven’t done for four years. 

“It’s adapting to that but when we do have the ball and we need to use it wisely he plays a part in that and it’s finding that right balance to him understanding us and understanding the Premier League.”

Defour has missed out in recent away games - and came off at half-time at West Brom - as Dyche switched back to a 4-4-2 on the road, rather than the 4-4-1-1 that has worked so well at Turf Moor.

That system has allowed Defour, Dean Marney and Jeff Hendrick to start together, but away from home the Belgian international has been the man to miss out in a two-man midfield.

Dyche believes there is more to come from Defour, who has 51 caps for his country, and has cited Manchester City ace De Bruyne’s improvement this season as a learning curve.

“He’s mates with De Bruyne and I say to him all the time if you look at him last season to this season he’s a different player,” said Dyche. 

“Even a player at that level of market with those players around him has still taken time to really become what we’re seeing often from him, which is absolutely top class.

“It’s hard for him at times because of his age that he’s in and out but I think it’s an important factor in learning about the Premier League.”