Sean Dyche isn’t surprised by Joe Hart’s level of performance since joining Burnley in the summer.
Hart’s stock had fallen over the previous couple of years as he was allowed to leave Manchester City on loan, spending a season on loan in Serie A with Torino and then tomorrow’s opponents West Ham.
He went from being England’s number one to missing out on the World Cup squad altogether, but while Gareth Southgate has yet to restore him to the Three Lions squad, Hart has deservedly earned many plaudits for his displays since agreeing a permanent switch to Turf Moor.
His stay with the Hammers wasn’t the most enjoyable, indeed, he made an error for Burnley’s third goal as they won 3-0 last time out at the London Stadium.
But Dyche said: “There's no guarantees, but when we brought him in here, he's not the first this environment has allowed to shine a little bit.
“There's players that we brought in who other people didn't want and they've flourished here as individuals and often the team as well.
“So I'm not surprised that it's a good place for him to come in and get on with what he wants to do, but you can never guarantee it.
“A lot of credit goes down to the players when they come in here.
“We can only offer and align them with what we think is correct, it's for them to take it on and run with it. But he's going along nicely.”
Asked if he senses Hart is back on track, Dyche added: “I don't think you need to sense it, I think you just look at his performances.
“He looks in a good place, I think he's enjoying the challenge here because he knows it's a challenge.
“I think he knows there's a group who will work in front of him, a group who will give everything.
“I'm not suggesting others don't by the way, I'm just saying he knows he's got that. And there is an honesty to the people who are working in front of him.
“I think as a keeper, as long as there's organisation, honesty and desire from the people in front of you, it gives you a chance to make the saves that you need to save, and I think he's enjoyed that aspect.
“I'm not saying he didn't have that anywhere else, I'm just saying here, I think he has got that and I think he's shown from his performances he is willing to work with that, and long may it continue.”
Hart has wanted a permanent move rather than another loan, and Dyche explained: “That's why we did it. Because he was very open, very honest. It was one of the most refreshingly simple, clean conversations - him, and his agent, a pleasure to deal with.
“And that was the only thing where he said 'look, I really need that – I need a base, somewhere I can go in and be part of, work hard for', and he was very clear, not bothered about glossy badges or anything, just a really good environment, somewhere to work.
“But he wanted to be part of something. Certainly not money – it was more about being actually part of a group, and he has done that. So, a very, very simple and clean conversation, hopefully I'm standing to my side of it and he's definitely standing to his side of it.”
Hart appears to have benefited from working with goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer, who has helped Tom Heaton and Nick Pope earn England recognition, and Dyche said: “There's no I in team don't worry about that. He's done some really good work with the guys.
“I think there's a really good group, because it's like the playing groups – it's slightly different, but they have to have the coach do a lot of work with them, but also they can rub off on each other. I think there's a very healthy respect of the goalkeepers here and demand.
“Obviously you've got Heats, who is a fantastic goalkeeper, Anders with his experience, Legz who is pushing them as a group, Popey to come back – a real demanding group there. I think Billy works fantastically well with them.
“That's the competitive element of a team. I speak about it all the time – it's not just what we tell them, what we can do, what the coach can do. It's their own competitive element within the group, other than the obvious competitive element from another team – that demand is very healthy and it has to be there, because that's your day-to-day, your bread and butter, getting ready for when the opposition come and take you on.”
It says a lot for Hart’s character that he has shaken off suggestions of his demise and rolled his sleeves up with Burnley, and Dyche noted: “I think there's also a lot of plaudits out there and a lot of people who respect him, and what he has done and what he continues to do.
“So I don't think... There's been elements where you get questioned, but that's every player, every manager, every coach. The coaches slightly differently – obviously if I get it wrong, they were right all the time and if I get it right, they were right all the time.
“But on the playing side of things, they've all had their question marks, all these guys. But I think Joe gets a fair balance of people saying fantastic pro delivering performances, knows there's a demand at Burnley Football Club different to what he's had in the past, knows there's a demand from the keepers around him.
“I think there'll be loads of people out there respectful of that and what a very, very, fine pro he is and how he gets on with his business. I don't overthink it and I don't think he does – I might be wrong, but I don't think so.”