Tarkowski settled at Burnley and maintains international hopes

James Tarkowski insists he is happy at Burnley and does not need to move to fulfil his England ambitions.

The defender has been capped twice and was named on the standby list for the World Cup in 2018 but pulled out to have hernia surgery.

A stop-start first half of last season, which included a second operation, saw him lose his place in the squad and he has been overlooked since despite a strong end to the last campaign and impressive performances so far this season.

Tarkowski said: “Obviously on a personal level I want to be in that team and be in that squad. I feel like I’m in the best position I’ve ever been in in terms of fitness and the way I’m playing. All I can do is keep trying to perform to the level I have been and hopefully catch the manager’s eye.”

The 26-year-old has not spoken to Gareth Southgate since receiving a call in the summer explaining why he would not be part of the Nations League squad.

Tarkowski’s exploits at Turf Moor have certainly not gone unnoticed, though, and he was the subject of significant speculation regarding his future during the summer.

But, with Burnley in a strong financial position, they were able to rebuff interest and hold onto one of their biggest assets.

Tarkowski was disciplined by his former club Brentford for refusing to play in a match against Burnley in 2016 as the Clarets sought a deal, which happened a couple of weeks later, but there was no dissent from the defender this time.

He said: “It’s sort of part and parcel of the game these days. I think every player at some point in their career will have to deal with speculation from the media about where they’re going to end up and who they’re going to play for.

“My job is just to play football to the best of my ability, which is something I always want to do, and I always want to show that I can do consistently. So that’s all I could do, whether it was here or elsewhere.

“I’m happy to be here and happy the way the season’s going so far. I’ve loved my time here, it’s been brilliant. The manager’s treated me so well and improved my game so much.

“I love my day-to-day life of coming into training and being part of this group. And obviously when things are going well on the pitch that’s even better.”

A good start to the season sees Burnley travel to Aston Villa on Saturday in the top half of the table.

Tarkowski’s England recognition came in the season in which the Clarets finished seventh, and he hopes continued strong performances can lead to a recall.

“I made the England squad playing for Burnley so I don’t see why I can’t make the England squad playing for Burnley again,” he said.

“It’s all about my performances being up there and, if the team’s doing well, that can only help me as well.”