James Tarkowski completed a free transfer move to Everton from Burnley in summer 2022 following six outstanding years with the Turf Moor club.
His debut season at Everton was an excellent one. Throughout the campaign, the defender proved to be a valuable addition to the side, and his consistency was important for the Blues backline.
An ever-present for the team, Tarkowski was the only outfield player to play every minute of the 2022/23 Premier League season. He was the first outfield player for the Blues to achieve that feat since Leighton Baines in 2012/13.
In January 2023, he was reunited with former Burnley boss, Sean Dyche, and Tarkowski went on to score Everton’s first goal under Dyche in a 1-0 victory over high-flying Arsenal in February.
Across the season, Tarkowski recorded the most blocks of any player in Europe’s top five leagues, as well as winning the second-most aerial duels in the Premier League.
Before his Blues move, the defender played 194 Premier League games for Burnley and in each of the five seasons prior to his exit started more than 30 top-flight matches.
Tarkowski, who has two England caps after a debut against Italy in March 2018, joined Burnley from Brentford in the closing months of 2015/16, arriving in time for a small part in the club’s Championship-winning campaign.
He played the majority of his football from the bench the following term, Tarkowski’s league starts limited to Burnley’s closing four fixtures.
Tarkowski, who boasts an excellent, progressive passing range, was installed as a first pick for manager Dyche for 2017/18.
And the centre-half repaid his manager’s faith in spades. Tarkowski was immaculate as Burnley began their second successive Premier League campaign with six wins and four draws from 12 games, a period that featured six clean sheets.
Burnley moved within one point of the top four following their productive start and with Tarkowski part of a defence that boasted the division’s sixth-best defensive record ultimately finished seventh to achieve European qualification.
The player’s form was rewarded with a first England appearance, a Wembley 1-1 draw with Italy, and he would add a second cap in a 1-0 victory over Switzerland at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium later the same year.
Tarkowski played 35 Premier League games and scored three goals in 2018/19.
His 56 blocks in the campaign were more than any divisional counterpart, while he was second highest in the league for clearances with 235.
Indeed, the season established a pattern for Tarkowski featuring prominently in charts detailing defensive metrics.
In 2019/20, when the Manchester-born player managed the feat of starting and finishing every Premier League match, he completed more clearances (200) than any other player in the competition.
Tarkowski ranked second for blocks (47) and with 198 aerial battles won was third in that category.
A toe injury ruled Tarkowski out of the opening two games of 2020/21 but once recovered he was immovable, once more, completing the remaining 36 fixtures.
He finished third in the categories for blocks, clearances and aerial battles won, with 42, 159 and 165 respectively.
Burnley’s six-year Premier League stay ended in 2021/22, but it was their form in the attacking third of the field that cost the club its top-flight standing.
Tarkowski played 35 times and was part of a team that conceded fewer goals than any of the league’s other bottom-eight sides.
Additionally, Manchester United and Leicester City in the top half and 11th-placed Newcastle United let in more than the 53 goals conceded by Burnley.
Tarkowski made the most blocks (61) of any Premier League player and tallied second for aerial battles won (153) and clearances (183).
His side, however, scored only 34 goals – only bottom-team Norwich City managed fewer – and dropped into the Championship.
Tarkowski began in the academy at Burnley’s Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers but left Ewood Park of his own volition, aged 14.
He played his first senior football for Manchester team Maine Road in the North West Counties League, before a scholarship offer from Oldham Athletic in summer 2009, when Tarkowski was 16.
The right footer made a senior debut off the bench in a League One match against Brentford, aged 18, in January 2011. A first start, at Leyton Orient, followed two months later.
Tarkowski established a regular position in the middle of Oldham’s defence in the second half of the following 2011/12 campaign.
His 26 appearances across the competitions in 2012/13 included a pair of FA Cup fifth-round ties against Everton, the Premier League team winning a replay 3-1 following a 2-2 draw at Boundary Park.
Tarkowski, now a pillar of Oldham’s backline, squeezed 36 appearances into the opening half of the next season before completing a move to League One rivals Brentford in January 2014.
In a forerunner for his successful mid-campaign switch to Burnley, Tarkowski alighted in West London in time for a role in Brentford’s promotion into the Championship, the player’s new club finishing second behind Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Tarkowski featured 36 times in Brentford’s first second-tier campaign since 1992/93 – and only second season at that level in 61 years.
Brentford finished fifth but lost a two-legged play-off semi-final to Middlesbrough.
There were a further 23 appearances for Brentford the following term before the January switch to a Burnley team that would win the Championship and usher in Tarkowski’s burgeoning Premier League career.
Contracted until: June 2026