Sean Dyche has paid tribute to Ben Mee ahead of the Burnley captain’s 300th game for the club.
The Sale-born defender, who cost a nominal six-figure sum from Manchester City back in the summer of 2012, stands on the cusp of becoming one of the club’s top 30 all-time appearance makers.
And ahead of his milestone appearance, away at Sheffield United this weekend, Clarets boss Dyche saluted the impact Mee has made at Turf Moor.
“I think Ben should be recognised here as a legend,” insisted Dyche.
“There are a lot of players in my seven years here who have become legends of sorts. Some have been here for short periods, but perhaps enjoyed famous moments, or scored famous goals.
“Ben is someone who has been here throughout my time here and 300 appearances at one club is no mean feat for a modern player.
“Through the successes and some of the challenges we’ve had, our fans have seen him develop, not only into a fine player but also a rounded person.
“He gives the club so much in terms of his professionalism and personal conduct and our fans have seen all that in front of their eyes for seven seasons.”
Mee's 300th game takes him with one of legendary 1970s midfielder Peter Noble, who currently stands 30th in the pantheon of appearance makers.
And another year at Turf Moor would see the 30-year-old enter the top 20.
Ironically, Mee’s first game as a Burnley player - at the start of a year-long loan deal in August 2011 - came in Dyche’s first game in management as Watford boss.
Ben, pictured on his Clarets debut in August, 2011
And the Burnley boss admitted he was well aware of the talent the then 21-year-old possessed.
Dyche explained: “I already knew of Ben and we sometimes have a little moment of reflection, because he played for the Manchester City youth team which defeated my Watford side 7-0 in one of my first ever games as youth coach.
“So I knew of him and what a strong player and character he was.
“I later saw him at Leicester, when I was at Watford and after that, and always liked him, so when I came to Burnley I had an inside feel of what he was about and the ways he could improve.
“He’s certainly done that and he deserves a lot of credit, forgetting our input, for how he conducts himself and goes about his business.
“He’s a calm person, but there is a real strength to him.
“He’s a very tough and very fair player and everyone around him should be very proud of him, which I am sure they are.”
Mee will skipper the side at Bramall Lane on Saturday, where Chris Wood remains a doubt (groin) along with Phil Bardsley (back).