Burnley boss Sean Dyche feels that new signing Aaron Lennon will benefit from the baptism of fire on his full debut for the club.
The 30-year-old, the only permanent capture of the January transfer window, was thrown in at the deep end when making his first start against champions-elect Manchester City at Turf Moor.
The England international, who ended a two-and-a-half year stay with Everton at Goodison Park to make the switch, is certainly no stranger to taking on that calibre of opposition having made upwards of 330 appearances in the Premier League.
The League Cup winner, who also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League at Spurs under Harry Redknapp and featured in the World Cup twice, was able to dip his toes in to the water with half-an-hour in the stalemate against Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Deadline Day.
And Dyche has been pleased with Lennon’s impact so far. “I’m really pleased,” he said. “It was tough to get on the ball in the first half, then we made the tactical switch to change wings and that was effective and he grew into the game more.
“He will grow, but not physically, as he is more used to what we are about. I think for him to get his first start in a big game like that is good.
“I think he is enjoying it and why would you not. It’s a fantastic group of players who will give you everything. That’s a great start point as a manager.”
Dyche also recognised the contribution of substitute Matthew Lowton, who made a return after a 12-game absence in the top flight due to injury and the form of Phil Bardsley.
The former Aston Villa full back, introduced after the interval with Bardsley sustaining a hamstring injury, made two crucial blocks to thwart Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva at one end while supplying the delivery for the equaliser at the other.
And the Clarets chief feels that the defender’s character epitomised the mentality of his squad in general.
“He (Bardsley) has hurt his hamstring but I have to give Lowts a mention,” Dyche said. “I marvel at these players and I speak to them about it all the time, when you are out of the side do everything you can to stay on it.
“We’ll provide the physical platform and it paid him back today because he was excellent when he came on, it was excellent to see him come on and play like that.”
Dyche added: “That mentality has been firm here, Vokesy has gone hard again today, he hasn’t played much football of late but he ran hard today.
“As a starting point as a manager if you get a group of people that give you everything I’ll take that, the rest of it, skill, tactics, a lot of that is down to me, but the mentality of the players is fantastic and that was on show again today.”