Anthony Glennon is revelling in his role as ‘senior man’ in the Clarets Under-23s as he leads by example on and off the pitch.
Glennon captained the Burnley side last season as Steve Stone’s men made huge strides in just their second season in the Professional Development League.
And the former Liverpool youngster is now firmly established as a figure-head type of character of the group winding up a key part of their preparation for the new campaign at a training camp in Poland.
“There are a couple of young lads who have come into the team and he (Stone) has said to me a couple of times that the lads look up to me,” explained Glennon, who joined Burnley after being released by the Reds at the end of last season.
“It’s a bit of responsibility I haven’t had before. I was captain now and again at Liverpool, but I wasn’t the skipper of the club (at his age group).
“I’ve looked up to the lads back at Liverpool and even here last year when I first came in the lads who were skipper and I’ve taken a bit from them.
“I’m just being myself and I think that’s been enough so far because everything seems to have gone to plan and I’m just buzzing to be skipper of this team. I’m proud of it.”
Glennon spent more than a decade on the books at Anfield, rising through the ranks alongside current first-teamer and England international Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The defender may have stayed on at Merseyside but following discussions with then U18 boss Steven Gerrard and Academy boss Alex Inglethorpe was given the opportunity to move on to progress elsewhere.
And after a successful trial spell with the Clarets, the 19-year-old signed a first professional contract last summer which was extended last month following an impressive 2018/19 campaign.
“It was hard at first,” admitted the Bootle-raised Glennon. “I had never lived away from home, so that was the thing that hit me more than the fact of leaving Liverpool.
“You have ups and downs in football, and I had a lot of conversations with people who have had the same kind of set-backs as me and I think I benefitted from it.
“I’ve improved a lot it in a year since I first came into Burnley. I’m really happy with how it’s gone and hopefully I can keep going and make the next step as soon as possible.”
Glennon has already been close, travelling with the first-team squad to Chelsea in April and then the following week making the bench for the first time when Sean Dyche’s side faced Premier League champions Manchester City at Turf Moor.
The left-back – who has also played as a central defender at times – was close to joining Under-23 team-mates Josh Benson and Ali Koiki in the senior party that has spent the week training in Portugal.
But for now, he has the memory of making bench against City to drive him on.
“I found out the day before that I was going to be involved. I just got told to report to Turf Moor,” Glennon said.
“I remember getting there and I sat next to a blank space. There was no shirt number and Jeff Hendrick said to me ‘are you blind? Your shirt’s hanging up over there’.
“I thought because it was at Turf Moor I was maybe doing the warm-up and then I remember the gaffer came in and put the presentation up on the board and my name was on the bench for the subs.
“I honestly didn’t know until a couple of hours before kick-off that I was on the bench, but it was a really unbelievable experience and I was grateful for getting the chance.
“I’ve trained a couple of times with the first team and I’m disappointed I haven’t gone away with the first team this week.
“But again, I’ve got to take that on the chin and keep working hard in the Under-23s and hopefully I will get the chance, whether it’s next year or just to train with them again at some point in pre-season.”
If he was disappointed, Glennon has hid it well, throwing himself into a tough but rewarding week under Stone’s guidance in the former England international’s first pre-season over-seeing the Clarets’ Under-23s following his appointment last November.
“I went on a couple of pre-season tours with Liverpool similar to this, but this different compared with last year,” Glennon added.
“We were at Lilleshall last year and this is a different set-up and it’s much better here.
“I think the lads have benefitted from coming away and spending a lot of time together.
“It can he hard at times, but I think we’re getting a lot of positives out of it in terms of team bonding and everyone coming together and I think it’s starting to show on the pitch.
“Even though we’ve only been training up to now, you can just tell the difference in the lads.
“The lads are coming out their shell, the drills are more intense, and everything seems to be coming together more.”
There has been no shortage of hard work. Stone makes that a pre-requisite of his teams as he mirrors the thoughts of first-team boss and former Nottingham Forest youth colleague Dyche: maximum effort is the minimum requirement.
But there has also been down-time when the young Clarets have displayed their unity and friendship, which was also evident last season when Stone’s side challenged in both league and cup before just falling short at the end – missing out on a place in the league play-offs by just four points and making it to the last eight of the Premier League Cup.
“Hopefully we can have a season similar to last season and maybe progress a bit more, go further in the Premier League Cup and get closer to the top in the league,” added Glennon, who was also denied the chance to lift some silverware with a Lancashire FA Senior Cup defeat to Blackburn Rovers.
“If we can do that, I’ll be happy and proud of the lads. But the way we’ve started pre-season so far, I can’t see that being a problem.”