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Wood, Pope, McNeil or Tarkowski - who has been Burnley's player of the season?

The Sports Mole team choose who they believe has been Burnley player of the season so far.

Burnley have enjoyed another successful campaign in 2019-20 and already look to have sealed their place in the top flight for another season with nine games still remaining.

Sean Dyche's side are already just one point off their 2018-19 tally of 40 points and went into the coronavirus lockdown sitting pretty in the top half of the table, only one point behind Arsenal.

Indeed, a return to European football is by no means out of the question at this stage, with Burnley sitting just four points adrift of seventh place, while they are closer to the top four than the relegation zone.

Here, the Sports Mole team select who they believe has been the Clarets' best player of 2019-20 so far.

Barney Corkhill, Editor: James Tarkowski

James Tarkowski warms up for Burnley on January 4, 2020© Reuters

There have been a few star performers for Burnley this season, and Nick Pope deserves a special mention having kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the league, but that record also owes to the men in front of him and James Tarkowski has enjoyed another stellar campaign.

The 27-year-old leads the Burnley charts in just about every defensive stat that matters - including most tackles, aerial battles won, clearances and interceptions - while he has also weighed in with a goal and assist during his ever-present campaign too.

Tarkowski's stats even stack up well against the rest of the division - he has made more headed clearances than anyone else in the division and ranks second for blocks and clearances overall.

Matt Law, Football Editor: Chris Wood

Burnley's Chris Wood celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on November 23, 2019© Reuters

Burnley's player of the season is a tough one because a number of individuals have enjoyed strong campaigns, namely James Tarkowski, Nick Pope and Dwight McNeil. It is difficult to look past Chris Wood, though, considering his contribution in the final third of the field.

Indeed, the 28-year-old has struck 11 Premier League goals in 29 outings, including efforts against Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in 2020. There would certainly be a number of takers if the centre-forward suddenly became available for purchase.

Darren Plant, Senior Reporter: Nick Pope

Nick Pope in action for Burnley on December 21, 2019© Reuters

While Burnley have no doubt benefitted from James Tarkowski and Ben Mee remaining as ever-presents in the centre of defence, goalkeeper Nick Pope has displayed the kind of form which has put him in contention for an England spot.

Eleven clean sheets from 29 Premier League matches is an outstanding return for a club of Burnley's profile and that on its own is enough for Pope to get the nod over plenty of other candidates.

However, his man-of-the-match performance against Leicester City on January 19, a game which also saw him save a penalty from Jamie Vardy, acted as the catalyst for Burnley recording 15 points from seven matches before the coronavirus pandemic.

Dan Lewis, Senior Reporter: Dwight McNeil

Dwight McNeil celebrates scoring a Premier League goal for Burnley on February 22, 2020© Reuters

It may be strange to say given the recent links to Manchester United, where he started his career, but McNeil has arguably gone under the radar since breaking into Burnley's first team a couple of years ago.

The England Under-21s international is a proper winger who also has an end product, highlighted by his 13 goals and assists since the start of last season.

Ben Knapton, Reporter: Chris Wood

Chris Wood celebrates scoring for Burnley on December 14, 2019© Reuters

Chris Wood has continued to flourish in Sean Dyche's traditional 4-4-2 system, and has outshone his strike partner Ashley Barnes during the 2019-20 campaign.

Wood's tally of 11 Premier League goals this season is his best in England's top flight to date, and the 28-year-old also boasts five headed goals this term, the most in the league.

As far as notable mentions go, Dwight McNeil has continued his impressive development at Turf Moor, while Nick Pope's clean sheet record speaks for itself, but it is hard to look past Wood's contribution at the other end of the pitch.

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Dwight McNeil celebrates scoring for Burnley on December 30, 2018
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