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The 28-year-old Jack Cork may not be the type of player who is flashy or the one who commands £30million transfer fees. But a look at his overall profile still makes for impressive reading.
Look at it this way; who would have thought three or four years ago that players of the quality of Jack Cork would be playing in Burnley’s midfield? Basically, nobody. Well, that’s not strictly true actually as he has played at the club before! That was on loan though but now he is a fully paid up member of Burnley’s squad, signing a four-year contract at the Lancashire club.
Cork has played over 160 games in this division, mainly for excellent passing sides like Swansea and Southampton, and can add a touch of class to Burnley’s engine room. He played 28 times last season in the top division for Swansea, who narrowly avoided relegation, and showed his competitive side with an average of 2 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per game.
His 1.6 clearances and 0.3 blocks too helped out his under-pressure defence in south Wales, though his game is much more about getting his side moving forward. A pass completion rate of 84% is truly outstanding for a player playing in a team which was under pressure most of the time and stats like this are more important than what people think.
Bringing in a player who keeps the ball within his own team more often is an obvious advantage to Burnley. In fact, it’s surprising that his average 43 passes per game didn’t turn into assists. He does keep his team ticking over though and his ability on the ball and passing success led to him being fouled an average of 1.1 times per game, something which still ensures his side keep possession via free kicks.
At 28, it can be argued that he is just reaching his peak as a central midfielder and will quietly go about his business this season in an effective manner. His experience is crucial for Burnley too. Cork played for England at every level from under-17 to under-21, where he was capped 13 times alongside some of England’s current senior players.
He was chosen to represent Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics too and made three appearances there, all things which mean Cork has the demeanour of a player who has seen it all and is never overawed. He’s a great addition to an impressive squad given their financial and reputational limitations and I for one, hope he does extremely well.