SEAN Dyche has backed Jeff Hendrick to flourish as Burnley’s number 10 if the midfielder returns to that role.

The 26-year-old has dropped into a central midfield position recently with Dyche reverting to a 4-4-2 for the past two league games, with Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes up front.

Before that Hendrick had been playing in a more advanced role in a 4-4-1-1 and the Burnley boss believes the 26-year-old is showing signs of improvement in that position.

“There were very good signs against Man Utd of how to find the pockets of space,” the Clarets chief said of the £10million man.

“It does take time when you’re operating a different role and the subtleties of it.”

Hendrick has scored twice for Burnley this season, in the wins over Everton and Newcastle in October, and he’s provided one assist which came in the 2-0 win over Swansea in November.

And Dyche insists the number 10 role can be played and interpreted in different ways, with Hendrick’s ability to press part of his value in that position.

“Without going too deep about it, the number 10 is played in different ways,” Dyche added.

“You can have a defensive number 10, you can have a number 10 who’s a creator, you can have a number 10 who’s in there to sit on their deep lying midfielder, which a lot have now, or to break off their deep-lying midfielder into the pockets.

“So there’s many different ways of playing it. He (Hendrick) is more of a running number 10, he’ll join in, back the play, recover when he needs to, rather than a technical number 10 who we know there’s many of around the world who more or less wait in the slot and you get the ball to them.

“Jeff will go and work for the ball. But he is learning it better. And that is part of what we do, it is adapt players to roles that we think are needed for the team.”

While Burnley have switched formations recently, Dyche insists he doesn’t place too much emphasis on formation.

“I think tactics can be over-egged nowadays but there are still subtle changes to how you’d view a 4-4-2 now,” he said.

“It’s not a 4-4-2 how you’d imagine it now. I think tactical shapes get a lot of airplay when sometimes it’s a lot more simplistic. It’s a yard here, five yards there, how out of possession changes to in possession.

“A 4-4-1-1 can quickly become a literal 4-3-3 in and out of possession, for example. A 3-4-3 can become a 5-4-1 very quickly on the changeover of possession.”