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Trafford looks set to stay in Premier League regardless of Burnley fate
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Dan Fitch
James Trafford has impressed in recent months
James Trafford has impressed in recent months

James Trafford's baptism of fire will see the heat turned up tonight when he faces former club Manchester City. 

The England Under-21s goalkeeper has experienced a pressure-laden first taste of Premier League football at newly-promoted Burnley. 

Signed in a £19million deal last summer, the youngster seems to have overcome his initial struggles and is producing some memorable performances of late. 

Ahead of Burnley's trip to City, we take a look at how Trafford is progressing. 

Tough start

Trafford had never played in the Premier League before this season, with his previous first-team experience being restricted to loan spells in League One. 

He attracted attention by keeping 26 clean sheets at Bolton in 2022-23. 

The 6ft 6in keeper then helped England to win the European Under-21 Championship by not conceding a single goal in the tournament. 

Vincent Kompany has been impressed by James Trafford's performances this season
Vincent Kompany has been impressed by James Trafford's performances this season

Yet despite these achievements, his introduction to the top tier with promoted Burnley always looked a daunting one and he has opened up about the experience. 

Trafford said: "I'm under no illusion it's been tough, especially the first few games. They were extremely tough. 

"It was completely new to us but as every game has gone on, I'd like to think I’ve been getting better and better quite quickly. 

"I feel I belong in this league." 

Statistical improvements

The statistics back up Trafford's assertion that he belongs in the Premier League. 

This was particularly true in Burnley's 1-1 draw at Brighton in December as he earned his team a point by saving 10 of the 11 shots he faced. 

When you delve into his stats, you can see the strengths of the City academy product and the aspects of his game that he still needs to work on. 

Only Sheffield United's Wes Foderingham has made more saves in the Premier League than Trafford's 85. 

He ranks 12th in the top flight having kept out 68.8% of the efforts he saved, which is an achievement in such an open team as Burnley. 

Only three goalkeepers have more high claims than Trafford's 24 this season and he is top for punches with 15. 

But his distribution remains a concern. Only 26.3% of his long passes of 40 yards or more have reached their target — the third lowest percentage in the Premier League. 

James Trafford needs to work on his distribution
James Trafford needs to work on his distribution

Kompany man

Vincent Kompany recently gave his thoughts on Trafford's debut Premier League campaign. 

The Burnley boss said: "He's been calm, consistent, really good in his effort and we know he has the talent. He's shown already that he can play in this league. 

"So the only thing we're demanding from all of these guys, it's that they show the level of consistency at this level that is required for us to keep our status in this league and maybe grow beyond it." 

With Burnley currently mired in the relegation zone, staying in the top flight now looks to be an uphill task. 

It might not be the worst thing for Trafford's individual progression if the Clarets were to go down. 

He would experience a very different side of the game, with Burnley dominating in the Championship when winning promotion last season. 

Yet with Trafford's improving form, it may well prove that this highly-rated goalkeeper will remain in the Premier League — even if his team-mates do not.


BurnleyPremier LeagueJames Trafford
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