Danny Drinkwater is fit enough to come straight into contention for Burnley but he has a job on his hands persuading manager Sean Dyche to put him in the starting line-up.
The former England midfielder joined the Clarets on Thursday on a loan deal from Chelsea until January and, on his best form, his quality would clearly be a big asset to Dyche’s men.
But the Burnley boss is known as a manager who keeps faith with players producing results and it would be a surprise if he does not select the same XI for next week’s trip to Arsenal after a 3-0 victory over Southampton provided a perfect start to the season.
Drinkwater joined Chelsea two years ago after playing a key role in Leicester’s Premier League title win but was frozen out last season at Stamford Bridge, with his only appearance coming in the Community Shield a year ago.
Dyche said: “He’s actually come in and he’s fit. We’ve tested him, so he’s more getting used to us. I wasn’t going to throw him in today no matter what.
“He knows he’s got work now. He’ll have watched that today and he’ll have thought, ‘right, OK, it’s game on’, it’s not just bowling in and getting in the side.
“Which he wouldn’t think anyway, he’s got a good manner to him and I like the way he’s got an edge.
“We want competition. It has to be respectful and I think there’s a bundle of respect here for each other as players.”
With Charlie Taylor still playing catch-up after a pre-season injury, Dyche gave summer signing Erik Pieters a full debut at left-back and the former Stoke man seized his opportunity, setting up two goals for Ashley Barnes.
Striker Jay Rodriguez, meanwhile, had to make do with a place on the bench following his return to his home-town club and was given a noisy welcome when he came on as a late substitute.
“Erik’s laid down a real marker,” said Dyche. “He’s come in with that real edge to him. He hasn’t come in expecting to play, equally he hasn’t come in thinking he’s not going to play, he’s had a real open mind.
“With Jay, obviously we’ve got two strikers who were terrific for us last season, both got goals. He’ll get plenty of football, I’m sure of that. I like the combination.”
Dyche also praised defender James Tarkowski after the Clarets rebuffed interest from Leicester before the window closed.
“There’s been a lot of noise outside of our camp, to stay focused on the job, as he has done, total respect for him,” added Dyche.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl gave a debut to striker Che Adams and will spent the next week analysing his latest signing, defender Kevin Danso, who is due to meet up with his new team-mates following his loan move from FC Augsburg.
“We’ll have a look,” said Hasenhuttl. “We will work with him during the week, we’ll show him how we want to play.
“It’s important for us to have more alternatives in the defence – not only this game showed that we have to. I’m happy that he’s here.”
On Adams’ debut following his move from Birmingham, the manager added: “Not an easy game for him. He worked a lot in the first line, also against the ball.
“He was a little bit unlucky. He showed in pre-season that he can score for us but the balls we played in front were not really that precise.”
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