Welcome boost for Ireland's Stephen Ward with first league start in a year

The Burnley full-back played 90 minutes in their 4-0 win over Bristol City.

Middlesbrough v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship - Riverside Stadium Ward featured for the 90 minutes at Turf Moor. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THERE WAS SOME positive news for Ireland international Stephen Ward on the club front yesterday.

The 30-year-old full-back was handed a rare start by Burnley boss Sean Dyche as the Clarets earned a 4-0 win over Bristol City as they moved up to fifth in the Championship.

In fact, you have to go back to 20 December 2014 to find the last time former Wolves defender Ward was named in the first XI for a league game.

His days at Burnley appeared to be number as he has been restricted to one appearance in the Capital One Cup and a late cameo in the league this season.

Despite the lack of playing time, Ireland manager Martin O’Neill threw him into the Euro 2016 qualifier against Germany in October, where the Boys in Green claimed a historic 1-0 win.

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Ward also started in the play-off first leg with Bosnia-Herzegovina and is almost certain to make the final squad for Euro 2016 finals next summer.

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Ben Blake

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