Burnley have been given a boost by Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s decision not to team up with Iceland during this week’s international window.
Erik Hamren’s side are due to face England on Saturday in a repeat of the infamous Euro 2016 clash as the UEFA Nations League gets underway, but the Clarets winger won’t be adding to his 75 caps in that fixture.
After an injury-ravaged 2019/20 season, the 29-year-old is instead concentrating on returning to peak fitness ahead of the new campaign, telling Burnley’s official website: “I decided it would be better for me to stay here and have a full pre-season. These games don’t come at a great time, especially for myself after I’ve had some problems.
“I thought it was the best for me to get a full pre-season in here, get the base fitness, get some games in and try to be as fit as possible for the season.”
Gudmundsson scored in Burnley’s opening game of last season, the 3-0 win over Southampton, but that was his only goal as a lengthy thigh injury restricted him to only 12 appearances and six starts – although he featured more prominently towards the end of the campaign over the summer. [via TransferMarkt]
He was on target in the 3-0 friendly win over Tranmere on Saturday as he continues to get himself in the best possible shape for the start of the new campaign, with his cause helped by the Clarets not starting their Premier League season until 19 September and a trip to Leicester – a week after most clubs get underway.
Even with the Iceland winger suffering an injury-hit 2019/20 season, he still demonstrated his value to the side whenever he was available – Dwight McNeil was the only player to better Gudmundsson’s match average of 1.3 crosses, while the 29-year-old’s average of 1.1 key passes per game was the third-highest in Sean Dyche’s squad (as per WhoScored).
His return to action in July also gave the Clarets an overdue natural fit on the right-hand side of midfield, with Dyche having to deploy central midfielder Josh Brownhill and even left-back Erik Pieters in that role in the first few games after the Premier League restart.
Gudmundsson showed whenever he was available last season that he can make a massive contribution to Burnley, something he has done since his 2016 arrival from Charlton by scoring seven goals and supplying 19 assists in 111 appearances.
Will Gudmundsson have a big part to play for Burnley in 2020/21?
His decision to prioritise club over country in the days leading into a hectic, condensed club campaign is one which should benefit the Clarets in the long run as he continues to work on his fitness, while also demonstrating a strong commitment to the Turf Moor cause.
Burnley fans, how big a boost is it that Gudmundsson isn’t going off to play with Iceland over the coming days? Share your views in the comments section below!
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