SEAN Dyche believes Burnley’s top scorer Andre Gray has the ‘animal instinct’ to continue improving after earning his shot at the Premier League the hard way.

Gray’s double at Swansea took his top flight tally for the season to eight in what is his debut Premier League campaign.

It comes just three years after Gray was plying his trade in non-league and the former Luton Town striker had just two seasons in the Championship before stepping up to the Premier League.


His start to life in the top flight was interrupted early on when he was hit with a four-game ban for historical social media posts, but Dyche has praised his response to that setback.

“I think although he’s still quite green in the bigger picture of football – because he didn’t have what you would call a normal academy-first team background, he had to go a long way backwards before he went forwards – he’s got quite a solid way about him, and quite a focussed way,” the Clarets chief said.

“He’s has faced challenges to acquire his professional manner.

“If you’re Steven Gerrard, you’ve gone through the system as the top kid and come out the other end as a top player. He’s not like that.

“So there’s an animal instinct in there to continue his journey constantly, and there’s challenges along the way to make it all make sense. And some of those challenges are out of his world really, like the thing that happened early season. It’s completely out of his thinking. He made it clear he’d changed, and he still got burnt. So it was a big thing for him to deal with.”

Gray has continued to find the back of the net this season despite his meteoric rise through the leagues.

He hit 25 goals in Burnley’s title-winning campaign in the Championship last season having scored 30 times in the Conference for Luton just two years before that, and Dyche said the Burnley way was to continue encouraging players to hit new heights.

“That’s why I talk about guiding players. They have got to take ownership,” he said.

“It’s not me going on and saying you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that. The world is changing. It’s trying to give them knowledge of the tools to try to go as far as they can. I’m trying to open up these channels of thought to encourage them to go further and further.

“I’m from the school where people used to scream at you a lot. And I’m sitting there thinking what are you screaming at me for? I was thinking why not just talk to me?

“So I thought when my time comes in coaching you work with what you’ve got. Don’t scream at them – try to educate them. Very rarely do I scream at players, even now.

“I don’t see that there’s much worth in it, and I certainly don’t call them names or anything like that.

“It’s all about guidance for me. This is what I think is good for you – what do you think? How can we fit your strengths into the team pattern. How can we make it work?”