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Defour Adds to History on Honours Board

8 November 2016

Burnley’s roll call of international players continues to grow with Steven Defour taking his place in club history with his addition to the Clarets’ honours board.

Defour became the first Burnley player to appear for Belgium when he helped his country to a 6-0 World Cup qualifying win over Gibraltar in October.

The name of the midfielder, who joined the Clarets from Anderlecht in August, has now been added to the international honours board in the reception at Turf Moor and he takes to 15 the number of countries to be represented by a Burnley player.

The total of international players from the club has also increased to 74, with the names of summer signings Jeff Hendrick and Johan Berg Gudmundsson added alongside Defour.

And club captain Tom Heaton also saw his name go on the board after making his England debut against Australia in May – becoming the first Burnley player since Martin Dobson in 1974 to play for England.

Michael Keane could become the second, and also earn his place on the board in the reception at Turf Moor, if he makes an appearance in England’s up-coming internationals against Scotland or Spain after being named in an original senior squad for the first time by interim manager Gareth Southgate.

Tom Heaton will be hoping to win a second England cap during the next week

“It’s a proud moment and it’s nice to have it officially on the board alongside a lot of great names from the club’s history,” said Heaton, who came on as a substitute in a warm-up game for the finals of Euro 2016 and is also part of Southgate’s current squad.

“I was proud to pull that jersey on and get on that pitch. It’s a long time since a Burnley player has done it so it was a fantastic moment.

“Michael Keane has been drafted into the squad since then and we have possibly got one or two others that are pushing that boundary, so it’s fantastic for the club and the important thing is we keep moving things forward and keep progressing.”

Gudmundsson became the second Iceland international to go onto the board, following in the footsteps of Joey Gudjonsson, who won four caps during his time at Turf Moor.

“I wish I was the first,” joked Gudmundsson. “But it will be nice if I return in the future as an old man and see my name on the board.

“I’m the second Icelander to be here at Burnley so I’m proud of that. Hopefully I’ll get a few more caps with Burnley so I’ll beat Joey on that."

Johann Berg Gudmundsson has been capped 55 times by Iceland

Gudmundsson looks certain to achieve his goal, having playing in three World Cup qualifiers for his country since joining the Clarets from Charlton Athletic in the summer, taking his total number of caps to 55.

The 26-year-old is poised to equal Gudjonsson’s tally when Iceland play a vital Group I qualifier against Croatia on Saturday night and could then go past it if the winger gets a run-out in a friendly in Malta on 15 November.

“We want to get to the World Cup.  We have started off really well and we are top of the group with Croatia and next up is Croatia. That’s going to be a huge game and I’m looking forward to that,” added Gudmundsson, who was part of the Iceland team that knocked England out of the last 16 of Euro 2016.

“To be involved in such a big game and hopefully beat Croatia and go top would be fantastic. But we are playing away and we’d take a point as well.”

The total number of caps won by Burnley players and displayed on the board amounts to over 500.

Jimmy McIlroy still leads the way with 55, while Michael Duff’s final contribution has now been confirmed with the 21 caps he won for Northern Ireland etched on the board after the Clarets’ stalwart hung up his boots at the end of last season to become the club’s under-18 Academy coach.

The Clarets’ elevation to the Premier League three times in the past seven years has gone hand-in-hand with the development and recruitment of players of international standing.

As a result, the current honours board, which was unveiled in 2009, may soon need up-grading.

Club historian Ray Simpson – a driving force behind the project - said: “It certainly makes a difference to how we were 20 years ago. We have really galloped on these past couple of years and the board almost needs consideration to be replaced.”

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