Eckersley Right Back Where He Belongs?
22 year old Richard Eckersley has become the forgotten man at Burnley FC but he seems to have impressed his current club Toronto FC. The right back flew out to Canada in April this year after agreeing a loan deal with the Major League Soccer club.
The season is now over in Canada but Eckersley still managed to make 22 starts in 23 league appearances for Toronto despite missing the last few weeks of the season with a hamstring injury.
Eckersley was set to return to Turf Moor in January 2012 but Toronto FC look keen to retain his services for their new season which starts in March 2012.
Toronto FC Director of Player Development Paul Mariner speaking to TSN confirmed that talks are currently underway with Eckersley with a view to extending his stay in Canada.
'We are trying our best to re-sign him, said Mariner
'I have known Richard for a long time and he is tailor-made for the league. I was out to dinner with him last night and we had a good chat. It is progressing really well. I don't want to say it is 100 per cent yet but it is progressing very well for us."
Eckersley, one of Owen Coyle`s signings for the start of our Premier League campaign arrived at Turf Moor in July 2009 after refusing a new offer by Manchester United. He signed a four year contract but because of his age United were entitled to compensation and tried to demand £1 million for the highly-rated prospect. This was way above Burnley`s estimation which was believed to be about £300,000. The case therefore had to go to a FA tribunal and the Clarets claimed victory when it was decided the figure should be £500,000.
It may have seemed like a victory but we have not really had a return so far on the investment. Eckersley made his Burnley debut in a Carling Cup second round match against Hartlepool United but was then sent off in the tenth minute of extra time. His only appearances so far have been in the cup competitions and he has still to make his league debut for the Clarets. For most of his time on Burnley`s books he has been sent out on loan having spells at Plymouth, Bradford City and Bury before crossing the pond to play for Toronto.
You just wonder if Eckersley with just under two years of his contract still remaining is ever going to feature in Burnley`s plans. Of course at the moment we have a loan right back with Kieran Trippier becoming a regular following the transfer of Tyrone Mears to Bolton in the summer transfer window. You begin to doubt though that Eckersley would even be considered once Trippier returns to City at the end of the season.
Maybe Eckersley`s future lies in Canada and perhaps a permanent move is something that Burnley might be prepared to consider at some stage in an effort to cut their losses.