Defour on future: I can’t say I’m staying here forever

Joe Williams

Belgium international Steven Defour admits he cannot offer any long-term guarantees over his Burnley future.

The 28-year-old, once wanted by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, was lured to Turf Moor on a three-year contract in the summer from Anderlecht in a then-club record £7.4million deal.

It was seen as significant business for Sean Dyche’s Premier League newcomers at the time, but the midfielder’s agent was quoted earlier this month saying his client would be open to a move to China.

That followed a spell where Defour was in and out of Dyche’s team, though he is now beginning to emerge as a more pivotal figure, as he displayed with a glorious scooped goal in Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Bristol City.

Yet Defour was open enough to concede there are no assurances for what the future holds for him.

“I don’t know,” he said.

“I can’t say I’m staying here forever and then there is a big opportunity if it’s in China or elsewhere or even in England.

“If there’s a big proposal somewhere which would be good for the club and for me then we should think about it. At this moment, there’s nothing on it.”

Though Defour has a wealth of experience with his country, and with the likes of Porto and Standard Liege, there has been an adaptation process with Burnley.

The ball-playing midfielder has had to get used to a different style – the Clarets had just 20 per cent possession on his debut against Liverpool – not that Defour was ever concerned about fitting in.

“Here, it never stops; it goes on and on” he said of English football.

“It’s just a different style of play. I felt pretty good in the beginning, it was just a matter of time and playing games.

“The training is good. I trained in similar ways in Porto. The level is good and the intensity is similar (to Porto). When we play those little games or we’re playing a game (in training), it’s like we’re playing the weekend game.

“It was just I needed to adapt to the style of play of Burnley because in every team I played we always had the possession.

“There were lots of moments we could just keep the ball. In Burnley you don’t have those moments.”

Defour had a part to play in the first goal on Saturday too, having squared for Sam Vokes to score for the 50th time in Burnley colours to top off a memorable week personally.

The boyhood Southampton fan was captured in the away end in the EFL Cup semi-final second leg at Anfield three days earlier to witness Saints reach their first major final since 2003.

“I haven’t watched Southampton in probably 10 years so it was good to go along,” Wales international Vokes revealed.

“It was funny, the gaffer put the video of me trying to sing on!”

It did give Vokes a unique perspective of what a deep cup run can mean, something he hopes he can now do with his employers.

“I grew up as a fan, I know what it’s about,” he added.

“You’ve seen the numbers – sometimes you don’t get it with the FA Cup now, you don’t get the excitement it used to have and it sometimes gets a negative note. But you see the fans turning out here, they did for the Sunderland game as well, and I think it’s important.”

Asked if he might try to get to Wembley, he replied: “With Burnley, definitely…just a couple more rounds!”