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Burnley Captain Ben Mee Ruled Out After Testing Positive For COVID-19

He misses the game against Manchester City on Saturday

Burnley captain Ben Mee has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche said the 32-year-old defender was “fine” and it was an isolated case, but it is not clear when Mee will be available again.

Dyche declined to reveal what percentage of his squad are vaccinated and he will continue to leave that decision up to individual players.

He said: “Everyone’s at liberty to decide what they wish to decide. I’m double vaccinated, all of my staff as far as I know are. I’ve got my children double vaccinated, my family double vaccinated. I’d recommend it but that’s a personal choice. I can’t force anything on anyone else.”

Mee’s absence is likely to mean another chance for summer signing Nathan Collins, who stepped in for the last game against Norwich two weeks ago after the skipper picked up a knock.

Collins joined the Clarets from Stoke in June and has so far made three appearances, two of which came in the Carabao Cup.

A Premier League date with City is certainly a step up but Dyche has been impressed with the 20-year-old’s development so far, saying: “Nathan played the last game and we thought he did a good job. That’s what we brought him here to do.

“His manner around the training ground, his professionalism, the way he goes about it, is excellent. He’s certainly moulding himself into what’s needed to be a player in the Premier League.

“Playing can only enhance that. He’s made a decent start in the cup game, he played well against Norwich, although I thought Tarky (James Tarkowski) was outstanding against Norwich and I’m still rubbing my head to know why he’s not around the England set-up at least.

“He (Collins) is delivering in training and I think he’s got a real intent to learn and to improve, and I’ve enjoyed that. If he plays on Saturday, we all know it’s very tough playing against Man City but that’s how you learn, how you improve, playing against the very best.”

Mee and Tarkowski have been a fixture at the back for Burnley in recent seasons and Dyche has no doubt Collins would benefit from having such an experienced partner if he plays on Saturday.

“I think it’s helpful,” said the Burnley boss. “Tarky’s become a very rounded professional, I think he’s been excellent for us this season. If I was a slightly fitter younger man, I’d certainly be thinking I could feel relaxed going out on a football pitch with him as my partner.”

This week’s takeover at Newcastle prompted speculation linking the Magpies with a move for Tarkowski, who looks set to run down the final season of his contract.

Dyche sidestepped the issue, saying only: “I can see him continuing to be professional and committed and speaking to me when he needs to.”

Another summer signing could be involved in the squad, with full-back Connor Roberts having started Wales’ victory over Estonia in midweek.

That decision prompted raised eyebrows from Dyche, and Roberts is likely to have to wait a bit longer to be in the picture for a starting berth at Burnley.

“I felt it was a bit premature to start him in the game but he came through it well so that’s no problem,” said Dyche.

“He’s trained today so no effects of that. He still needs more game time for me, he’s been out for quite a long while. We’ll probably try to get him involved in and around it because that’s an important part of his settling period.

“We’re still learning about Connor because he’s hardly played any football. We do believe in him, quite obviously, that’s why we brought him here but we’ve got two very, very strong full-backs.”

Maxwel Cornet has recovered from his hamstring problem but Matej Vydra and Charlie Taylor are both doubts.

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