GRAHAM Alexander believes Burnley could help David Nugent get back into the England frame.
The 37-year-old will be reunited with his former Preston North End team-mate later this week, after Nugent completed a loan move from Portsmouth on transfer deadline day.
The striker earned his only cap to date while building a reputation as a prolific striker in the Championship.
But he dropped off the international radar following his £6million move to Fratton Park.
Nugent, who joined Preston from Bury in January 2005 and left in July 2007, scoring 33 league goals, fell out of favour with former Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp and has struggled to work his way into Paul Hart’s plans.
But Alexander is confident the 24-year-old can rediscover the form which led to his England call-up more than two years ago with the Clarets.
“There’s no doubt he has the ability to be a top player, he just needs the platform and hopefully he’ll get that at Burnley,” said Alexander.
“He’s very quick and likes to score goals, so hopefully we’ll provide him with the chances to do that.
“He can play anywhere along the front line too, he’s not just pigeon-holed to one position, so there’s real competition up there with Thommo (Steven Thompson), Pato (Martin Paterson), Jay (Rodriguez) and Fletch (Steven Fletcher).
“There are so many decent lads; all good players who’ve all got their attributes and are all capable of playing with each other.
“Nuge will be the same. Good players can play with good players.”
But Alexander, who helped Scotland to their World Cup qualifying 2-0 win over Macedonia on Saturday, knows Nugent won’t be getting ahead of himself.
“He got his England cap playing for Preston in the Championship.
"If he plays and scores goals for us he’s not going to do himself any harm.
"He has the attributes to be a top striker, he just needs to have the platform, which he hasn’t had at Portsmouth,” he said.
“But I’m sure he’s not even thinking about that at the moment though, and just trying to concentrate on getting going for Burnley.
“He was fantastic for us at Preston and thoroughly deserved his move to the Premier League, although it probably hasn’t worked out as well as he would have hoped.
“He was used to playing week in week out for Preston and scoring regularly, so for it to come to an abrupt end must have been a bit of a shock. So I’m sure he’ll be dying to start playing and scoring goals.
“As a footballer, you’ve always got a point to prove to someone and I'm sure Nuge has too.”
And Alexander feels Nugent offers the right characteristics to contribute to the Clarets' important team spirit.
“He’s an enthusiastic lad and good fun to have about. He’ll settle in with the boys really well,” he said.
“It’s important we keep the team spirit because that helps us to win games.
“Anyone that comes in I’m sure the gaffer looks at their character as well, and it’s great to be a part of that.”