Forget Steven Defour – Ashley Westwood should start against Stoke

After yesterday’s dismal performance against Tottenham, calls were made by the vast majority of our fan base to get Belgian playmaker, Steven Defour, back into the starting 11.

However, I for one, would dismiss these calls and would instead make a case for an almost forgotten man at Turf Moor – Ashley Westwood.

He may not be the most glamorous player, but he is very good at what he does, which is retaining possession and being the driving force in starting off attacks.

Alongside Joey Barton earlier in the season, Westwood impressed, and like so many of our players, what they do, often goes underappreciated. You could argue that the former Villa man was unlucky to be displaced by the returning Jeff Hendrick, but the Irishman was in fine form before his dismissal at Watford and his return to the side was almost certain.

One thing you can never take away from Westwood is that he gives 100% at all times, which for me, can’t be said about Defour.

When the Belgian came on yesterday, his first involvement was to give the ball away and he never chased to win it back, he just jogged back into position, and that just isn’t good enough.

Yes, he was playing on the wing and he isn’t comfortable there, but if he wants to show Sean Dyche he deserves a place in the team, he’s got a funny way of going about it.

Defour does offer some creativity going forward, but with Westwood and Barton in the middle and Hendrick playing just in front, you get a bit of everything in there and I think it is a more balanced midfield with Westwood in it.

The minimum requirement from all us fans is that players give maximum effort, and I just don’t see that from Defour. To me, he has the look of a player who isn’t happy to be at Burnley, and come summer, I believe he will be leaving for pastures new.

Westwood wouldn’t be the only player returning to the starting 11 either. Robbie Brady also HAS to start on the left wing.

Without him yesterday, Burnley lacked any creativity and all Arfield and Boyd really are is full back cover, which at home in the Premier League, shouldn’t be needed.


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