SEAN DYCHE admits Ben Gibson could have played his final game for Burnley, and has revealed there is a “private angle” to the Teessider’s decision to start training with Middlesbrough.

Gibson is currently training at Boro’s Rockliffe Park base despite being contracted to Burnley and unable to leave the Clarets until the start of July at the earliest.

The centre-half, who joined Burnley in a £15m move from Middlesbrough in 2018, was keen to move on in the January window, but Dyche blocked proposed loan moves to both Boro and Watford.

Gibson is understood to be deeply frustrated at his failure to force through a transfer, having been unable to hold down a place in Dyche’s first-team squad this season. The 27-year-old has not made a single Premier League appearance this term, with his only senior involvement having come in August’s EFL Trophy defeat to Sunderland.

He cannot play for Middlesbrough, but has been given permission to train close to his Teesside home rather than remain based in the North-West.

“It’s quite a unique situation,” said Dyche. “There’s a private angle to it, which will remain private, but at this time he’s with Middlesbrough, training there to keep fit and stay sharp. He’s still a Burnley player though.

“We’ll see (what happens in the future). It’s one of those situations where we wait to see what the next step is – for us as a club, and equally for him as a player.”

There have been suggestions in Lancashire that Gibson has clashed with Dyche’s assistant, Ian Woan, and that a breakdown in the pair’s relationship has contributed to the current arrangement.

Dyche did want to elaborate on recent events, but hinted there is more to the situation than Gibson simply being unhappy with his lack of first-team action.

“At this stage, the club statement is correct,” said the Burnley boss. “And anything beyond that will remain private to us.”

Burnley issued a formal statement on Wednesday when news of Gibson’s return to Rockliffe first broke.

“The defender made it clear in the weeks leading up to the end of the January transfer window that he wanted to leave Turf Moor to seek regular first-team football,” said the statement.

“Unfortunately for the player, the club did not receive an offer it felt was acceptable and he remains contracted to the club.”

Jonathan Woodgate will outline Middlesbrough’s perspective on the situation when he conducts his press conference ahead of this weekend’s home game with Luton Town this morning.