Burnley boss Sean Dyche has drawn a line under an incident involving Danny Drinkwater in which the midfielder was reportedly attacked outside a nightclub.
It was claimed the 29-year-old was ejected from a venue in Manchester before being set upon by a group of six people, one of whom was allegedly armed with a blunt object.
Drinkwater, on loan at Burnley from Chelsea until January, damaged his ankle in the altercation and is unable to play in Saturday’s Premier League match at Brighton and Hove Albion.
Dyche says he has spoken to Drinkwater about the incident but is not prepared to be overly critical of the player in public as he attempts to help him get his top-flight career back on track.
“The big picture is he is a 29-year-old footballer and nobody wants to get into this situation,” Dyche said to club media on Friday. “He knows that. On the other side, he is a human being and we have all been involved in not-so-good times.
“Forget about the footballer. Sometimes people get into scrapes. But he is wise enough and old enough to know not to. You can’t just talk about development when it’s good news, though. You have to talk: more so if things aren’t going well.
“When you take a player in he becomes a part of us. So we will work with Danny and try to help him and, importantly, he has to get himself fit.”
Sean Dyche, pictured at today’s press conference pic.twitter.com/gxcPAOiVNE
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At a later news conference, Dyche added: “We spoke, but only stuff about what he needs to do here. That was more the case. It’s just common sense.
“He’s 29, he understands these situations happen, but he knows it’s not good, and equally he’s old enough to know how to conduct himself.
“It’s just the way it goes sometimes. Life happens.”
Drinkwater, who joined Chelsea from Leicester City for a reported £35million fee in 2017, was frozen out of the first team by Maurizio Sarri and allowed to join Burnley by new boss Frank Lampard in order to find regular football.
Dyche, who worked with the player during a loan spell at Watford in 2010-11, said the former Manchester United man must find the right way to channel his “edge”.
“I’ve known of him for quite a while,” Dyche said. “I worked with him before at Watford, and he’s a genuinely good lad.
“I like players to have an edge about them, but it still has to be channeled in the right way.”
On the ankle problem, Dyche added: “It’s not serious, it needs to settle down, but it’s not serious, although he won’t figure this weekend.”