BURNLEY skipper Jason Shackell is relishing the chance to play at his beloved Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium for the first time next season.
Shackell grew up as an Arsenal fan and faced them with Norwich City in the Premier League in 2005, when he was unable to prevent Thierry Henry scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 Gunners win.
But that game was at Highbury and the 30-year-old has not played Arsenal since their move to the Emirates.
“For me Arsenal is the one I’m looking forward to,” Shackell said.
“I was an Arsenal fan as a kid so to go to the Emirates will be really special, and obviously playing the likes of United and City too.
“There are lots of great games to be looking forward to. We can’t wait.”
One of Shackell’s two goals this season came in the 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers in Ewood Park – Burnley’s first win over their fierce rivals since 1979.
With Rovers’ play-off chances looking very slim, there may be no East Lancashire derby next season and Shackell admits his goal at Ewood is one of his personal highlights of the campaign.
“I think it has to be for me,” he said. “To not beat them for 35 years and then go to their place and do it in the season we’ve been promoted, it was absolutely fantastic. To be part of that squad, I couldn’t ask for any more.
“It’s a nice way to leave it, being promoted.
“We won’t be playing them in the league next year so it’s a nice way to leave it with the win in the last game against them.”
Shackell has been full of praise for Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits it would be little surprise if the Burnley manager starts to be linked with moves elsewhere.
“With the job he’s done here he’s always going to attract attention,” Shackell said.
“I’m sure he’s going to be linked with jobs left, right and centre but at the minute he’s the Burnley manager and hopefully it stays that way.
“The gaffer’s been fantastic, we’ve got a small squad and he’s been incredible. He’s got his philosophies and the way he wants to do things, and the lads have really bought into it.
“He’s been a huge part of it and I give him as much credit as I can.”