Best Burnley XI of the 21st century
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With many challenges doing the rounds on social media, here is at an ultimate Burnley eleven based on players who had played for the Clarets in the 21st century. These eleven players are selected based on their prime form whilst at Turf Moor. 

Ultimate XI

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton

Burnley have been blessed with good goalkeepers for some time. Brian Jensen is a cult hero. Lee Grant left the club having just won the Player of the Year Award. This battle was between Heaton and Nick Pope, though, and it's the former who edges this. 

Heaton came into the club on a free transfer and did a remarkable job. He was a vocal leader and a brilliant shot stopper. Pope is an equally tremendous option between the sticks but Heaton gets the position for his leadership skills and his superior distribution. 

Right-Back: Kieran Trippier

This one was quite straightforward. Burnley have had some solid options in this position but none of them went on to score for England in the semi-final of a World Cup! Trippier's rise has been phenomenal and Burnley supporters would have felt immense pride at his performances in a Three Lions jersey. 

Trippier has always been vocal about his love for the Clarets and, in particular, manager Sean Dyche. He has even hinted about finishing his career in East Lancashire. That move would certainly excite the fans. 

Centre-Back: James Tarkowski

Tarkowski has been a colossus in defence over this unfinished season. He has illustrated his composure on the ball and his maturity in the centre of defence. At times, Tarkowski was prone to David Luiz-esque moments of madness but his game has become much calmer. On top form, he is probably Burnley's best centre-half of this century. 

Centre-Back: Ben Mee

He's been at the club for many years and always seems to be in the shadow of his centre-back partner. That's because Mee is a quiet and calculated figure on the field. He leads be example without shouting his head off. He defends appropriately instead of attempting something fanciful. A quiet club legend.

Left-Back: Stephen Ward

No thrills and no spills with this man in defence. Ward was a safe pair of hands and had a no-nonsense approach to his defending. He came to the club with a lot of experience on his back and it showed time and time again. Charlie Taylor is continuing to develop into a real star but, right now, Ward has the edge. 

Right-Midfield: Dwight McNeil

He plays on the left more regularly than he plays on the right but, with Trippier bombing on, it makes sense to make him an inverted right-sided player. The youngster is the brightest prospect to come out of the academy since Jay Rodriguez

His incredible pass for Rodriguez in the match against Bournemouth was symptomatic of his talents. The vision and execution was top class, reminiscent of Kevin De Bruyne in action.

McNeil might not have the heritage or legacy of some of the other names in this team but his abilities are up there with any of them. A true talent.

Central-Midfield: Steven Defour

Some people would argue that the brilliant Belgian is Burnley's greatest ever player. Defour really did light up Turf Moor during his time at the club. A stunning solo effort against Hull City was followed by a fantastic free-kick at Old Trafford and another remarkable solo effort against Bristol City in the FA Cup. Defour didn't score simple goals but he made the game of football look very simple.

The only blotch on his time with the Clarets was his injury record. The midfielder couldn't inevitably had to prematurely end his time at Turf Moor because the physical demands of the Premier League had become too much for his body. Irrespective of that, his contributions on the pitch have made him an adored figure. 

Central-Midfield: Dean Marney

Mr Underappreciated. He might not get into every selection but Marney was a jack-of-all-trades. Initially signed by Brian Laws, he was a combative midfielder that liked to ruffle a few feathers. Those characteristics remained the same throughout his Burnley career but, under Eddie Howe and Dyche, his technical qualities developed massively.

Many believe that Burnley were relegated in the 2014-15 season because of Marney's untimely injury in February. 

Left-Midfield: Robbie Blake (Best of both tenures)

A little magician famous for his Bad Beat Bob underpants, Blake was a cult hero for Burnley fans. Still, he was far more than just a comedic presence. Blake's vision and technique on the ball was top class. This current Burnley team is made up of tireless workers and, in that sense, Blake could struggle. Nonetheless, the hunger and graft of the two strikers could help Blake out. 

Blake enjoyed two memorable spells with Burnley. For the purpose of this team, the focus is on a bit of everything. His younger days for his exuberance. His later days for his experience. Still, he managed to conjure magic in both spells with the Clarets. 

Striker: Jay Rodriguez (First tenure)

Charlie AustinAndre Gray, Andy Payton and a number of other names should all count themselves very unlucky. The depth of Burnley's strike-force over the years has been incredible but this young product from the academy was something special.

Rodriguez was the full-package by the end of his first tenure at Burnley. He was quick, he was skillful and he could easily take players on. Furthermore, he could pick a pass and was a clinical finisher, two vital aspects of leading the line.

While he is still a valuable asset to have in the current playing squad, young Rodriguez had more strings to his bow. Like his strike partner, here, injuries really hampered his later career prospects. 

Striker: Danny Ings 

Like Rodriguez, Ings had the full package. He would chase down every loose ball and throw his body in the line of fire. That was his modesty. He never took his place for granted. These things were simply an added bonus to the fact he was a very technically gifted player with a keen eye for goal.

Annoyingly, he always looked to be a Jurgen Klopp type of player but he was denied a real chance to make his name at Anfield by a series of recurring injuries. 


Nick Pope

Arguably a better keeper than Heaton but it's the toss of a coin. Great back-up. 

Michael Keane

Really grew into a fine defender at Turf Moor. Not quite as technically gifted as Tarkowski and not quite as defensively consistent as Mee but he was still a very good player. 

Charlie Taylor

Another tight decision against Ward. Right now, he's still developing but could be a top player if he keeps progressing.

Graham Alexander

It was very tempting to switch to a 4-5-1 for the sake of the veteran but it was tough to neglect a little more attacking flair. Irrespective of that, Alexander was calmness personified in midfield and his precision from the penalty spot exemplified this.

Jack Cork (First tenure)

Under Brian Laws, he was a terrific all-action midfielder that looked a little too good for a team in decline. He is a different player now but still plays with all of the honesty and integrity that you'd expect.

Wade Elliott

Elliott, like Blake, was a magical talent. He scored some unbelievable goals including a stunning volley against Charlton Athletic in the 2007-08 season. His most memorable goal will always be the 25-yard peach against Sheffield United at Wembley. Unfortunately, Blake had a bit more X-Factor and McNeil is a better player.

Charlie Austin

Austin was a goal-scoring machine. It's amazing to think that he and Trippier were in the same team. Rodriguez and Ings, in their prime, were better all-round players.


Sean Dyche

Who else? The only manager to have got Burnley automatically promoted to the Premier League (twice). The only manager to have kept Burnley in the top division. The only manager to have taken Burnley into the UEFA Europa League. You could go on. 

It would be interesting to see what Dyche would have made of Blake. Traditionally, mercurial talents didn't last too long under the current manager.

Ross Wallace and Junior Stanislas were exciting players that invariably left the club under his reign. However, prime Blake was a genius so perhaps Dyche would have found a way to make it work.