Carlisle’s Countdown conundrum

As the Clarets search for the answer to their Premier League

survival conundrum, defender Carlisle is hoping to solve some more

of his own. Carlisle has a reputation as one of the cleverest

players in the professional game and will put his brainpower to the

test as he appears on intellectual TV quiz Countdown next week.

Footballers are not historically known for their mental agility but

Carlisle claims that is an unfair stereotype. The 30-year-old said:

“They are sweeping generalisations. People say there is no

intelligence in football but that couldn’t be further from the

truth. “It is just like any working environment, you have a

spectrum of intellect and ability. I don’t think I am an exception

to any of them.” Carlisle, who joined Burnley from Watford in 2007,

is fulfilling a long-held dream by featuring on Countdown, the

famous words and numbers game. He failed in an audition for the

show in a previous year but this time won through. “I’ve been a fan

since I was about seven,” said Carlisle, who quickly identified the

anagrams ‘Kebab Boiler’ and ‘Deviant Dung’ as team-mates Robbie

Blake and David Nugent when challenged by a radio journalist. “I’ve

always been interested in Mensa and IQ tests. I love numbers and

Scrabble is a big favourite of mine. “I’ve just always been

interested in that type of thing.” Carlisle’s most immediate task,

however, is tackling Aston Villa as the Clarets return to Premier

League action after a short break on Sunday. Burnley are anxious

for points having slipped to 19th in the table but their away form

does not bode well for a trip to Villa Park. The East Lancashire

outfit have collected just one point on their travels and new

manager Brian Laws has made the issue one of his top priorities.

Carlisle added: “The manager has come in and pinpointed that. It

was glaringly obvious and we have been working hard in training.

“We have tried to win games away from home and there might have

been a naivety within the side. “A lot of the squad also have very

little Premier League experience. “It has been a baptism of fire

but they are not excuses. They are just things we need to address.”