Tag Archives: James Tarkowski

Wanted man: a profile on james tarkowski

As the bids pour in from West Ham United for Burnley centre-half James Tarkowski, what better time than to profile the centre-half, who could end up fetching a hefty fee this summer, with a release clause apparently set an eye-watering £50 million.

A 27 year old Tarkowski may be no spring chicken, but unlike many top flight footballers his rise to prominence came rather later in his career than most.

Now a mainstay in Sean Dyche’s solid Burnley XI, it is safe to say Tarkowski earned his stripes before making it in the big time.

Early Life

Born in Manchester and with Polish family blood, hence the surname, Tarkowski joined the academy at Blackburn Rovers before his release at the age of 14 at his own request.

Following a spell of toughening up in adult football in the North West Counties league for Maine Road, the no nonsense defender was signed by Oldham Athletic when he left school on a two-year scholarship, and was handed a professional contract in 2011 at Boundary Park.

The now Burnley man’s first taste of pro senior football came on  22 January 2011 when he appeared as a second half substitute for the Latics.

Lower League Sensation

Tawkowski went on to make 89 appearances for Oldham in all competitions, but in truth he was showing signs of a far greater level than the club could offer.

Despite this, Oldham attempted to keep their man by offering him a new contract, before a then League One Brentford came calling in 2014. Soon-after the Tic was a Bee after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee and the centre-half put pen to paper on a three and a half year deal.

After playing a bit-part role in Brentford’s promotion to the Championship, it was in the second tier of English football when the Englishman began to show his true potential.

His form across his 57 Championship outings in two seasons brought the attention of multiple clubs, with Sean Dyche’s Burnley ultimately being the lucky side to secure his signature.

On 1 February 2016, Tarkowski signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with a promotion chasing Clarets side for another undisclosed fee.

In truth the defender hasn’t always been first choice at Turf Moor, suffering a watching brief for large portions of his early time at the club, until the departure of Michael Keane to Everton opened up a position in the heart of the Burnley defence, Tarkowski has never looked back.

Since 2017/18 he has played 103 Premier League matches, including appearing in each of Burnley’s 38 games last term, underlining his new found importance to Dyche’s side. No wonder the rough speaking manager is desperate to keep hold of his man.

England Honours

Having been eligible to play for Poland through his grandfather, On 15 March 2018, Tarkowski was named in the England squad for friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy, making his debut on 27 March at Wembley Stadium starting in a 1-1 draw with the Italians.

A man of currently only two caps, there is no doubt more will come should he continue his outstanding form in the future, wherever he plies his trade.

Where Next?

With reported major interest from West Ham, including two rejected bids to date, and with Leicester City seemingly monitoring the situation, where next for James Tarkowski? If anywhere.

Whilst there is no doubt his form and levels of consistency make him worthy of a move to perhaps the slightly upper echelons of the Premier League, £50 million seems a little extortionate, although for for £10 million less you’re getting half the player Harry Maguire is, and the 27 year old Burnley man certainly isn’t that.

The West Ham link seems a strange one, not because David Moyes’ squad wouldn’t benefit from the centre back, because they would. More because it’s somewhat of a sideways, arguably backwards move for him. Despite the perceived size of the clubs, the claret and blue of Burnley finished a full six places higher than the claret and blue of West Ham last term.

It could easily be argued the Leicester switch is a more desirable, viable and perhaps suitable one. A team who certainly threatened the top four for much of the season, have Europa League football, and will compete in the domestic trophies, is perhaps whereabouts Tarkowski should be aiming.

Ready For The Elite?

TalkSport host Ally McCoist did recently question why some of the big boys in the top flight weren’t making their enquiries, however a crack at the very elite levels may just be one tiny step too far for the twice capped England man.

That said Tarkowski did make the WhoScored.com European team of the season a line-up is based purely on statistics as Burnley kept the same number of clean sheets as champions Liverpool in 2019/20, largely down to that man leading the defence.

Season of VAR howlers

After a season that has taken virtually a year to complete, the major talking point once again has been VAR.

Unfortunately, yet another season has passed us by with more controversy on the use of the system.

When VAR was first introduced, the idea was it would stop debate and get decisions correct. Unfortunately, since its introduction into the game it is still causing disagreement in the football world.

This season in particular there have been some absolutely shocking decisions that have been an embarrassment to the beautiful game.

Back in November there were no less than four instances of the worst possible outcome of the VAR system getting decisions wrong.

On New Years Day more embarrassment when Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish headed home after eleven minutes, but the goal was ruled out as it was deemed offside due to a striker’s heel millimetres ahead of James Tarkowski.

There has also been a huge amount of goals that have been ruled out for handball. Now if it is an obvious hand ball then fair call it should be ruled out. But what we have had constantly this campaign has been instances of players virtually struggling to get their hand or other parts of their anatomy out of the way.

The essence of the problem with VAR centres around two main points. Handball situations and offside.

We have had the most astonishing decisions go against the attacking side when it comes to offside or not. In most cases it has been not a foot but a hand or even a length of hair.

In my opinion then surely, you are either offside or not. The attacking player should always be given the benefit of the doubt.

There is also the famous line that gets trotted out week in and week out- “Clear and obvious”.

Throw in the amount of time that it is taking in most VAR decisions and you can see why most football fans- me including- are totally against this system.

It is clearly not working, but it is looking more and more likely that it will be here to stay.

If there are some positives to come out of the use of VAR, it is that on some occasions it has got decisions correct. In most of these it has been on margins of a very fine line. So that is something positive to come out of the technology and system used.

The system could easily be improved by this formula, which would eliminate mistakes by the VAR officials watching back at Stokley Park.

If Var has to be called on, then let the on-field referee go straight to the monitor and let him decide what the eventual decision should be. He can get help from the VAR officials, but the final decision should lay in the hands of the match referee on the field of play.

Yes, he may get the odd decision wrong but surely, he is the man in the middle who should decide on the eventual outcome. This has got to be better than waiting for a long time before somebody hundreds of miles away decides on a decision, which in most cases is totally wrong.

Otherwise what is the point of having a monitor which is rarely used. It makes sense to use it. Falling that lets just scrap VAR for good, this would be the simplest solution but because the system won’t get discarded, then let’s get the main official involved.

The wonderful game of football is for the fans. They want to see free flowing games of 90 minutes, not endless waiting on VAR decisions which interrupt the flow of the game.

For the sake of football, if we are going to continue with VAR then let us please use it to its proper use, or simply change the laws of the game. By doing so it would stop issues of handball and clear and obvious and would make watching of the sport back to what it used to be like. Plain and simple and easy to understand.

3 Premier League Players who should’ve made the England Squad

The England squad has been announced by Gareth Southgate for the international matches against Slovenia and Lithuania. However, as always when the England squads are announced, people are talking about who is in it who shouldn’t be and who should be in it who aren’t. As well known, the majority of England players come from the Premier League, so here are three Premier League players who could’ve and maybe should’ve been called up by Southgate.

Firstly, Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. Although still early on in the season, and with Shelvey not covering himself in glory with a red card on the first game of the season, the central midfielder has shown he can be a proven Premier League and international player by coming back, showing off his long range passing and tackling, providing a magnificent assist at the weekend which opened the Liverpool defence, showing his capability both defensive and attacking. Looking at others, Delph has made the squad and although he has shown good performances, has only made one Premier League start for Manchester City. So Shelvey, currently proving himself and still developing at the not very old age of 25, could certainly do a job for the three lions.

Leicester City and England star Jamie Vardy is not in the squad for these two games. Vardy certainly should be given a call-up, as the second highest scoring Englishman in the league at the moment with five to his name. He has also put in wonderful performances for the Foxes against the big boys of Liverpool and Chelsea. However, in the form of his life, it looks like nobody will take Harry Kane’s name for the number nine shirt in that starting XI. But Vardy is an excellent impact player, a super-sub which he has shown for both club and country. His pace and power can be used to tear defences to shreds. Therefore, Southgate could’ve seriously missed out.

Also unlucky to make the squad is James Tarkowski of Burnley. The centre-back has been superb since the departure of Michael Keane, winning Man of the Match in the Clarets’ win at Goodison Park and also a crucial part to the side that has taken points off Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. These results, which Tarkowski and his defence have been magnificent in getting, has lifted Burnley to sixth. Surely worth a go for England?

Other mentions could be that of Tammy Abraham, Andre Grey, Alex Iwobi, the list could go on. Leave your thoughts in the comments below