Burnley winger Dwight McNeil: First full season in the Premier League was a 'dream come true', but the story doesn't end there!
Burnley winger Dwight McNeil has described his first season in the Premier League as a 'dream come true', but the teenager doesn't want his journey to end there.
The top flight's most productive teenager this term, who contributed to eight goals alongside Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, is proud of what he's achieved so far under Sean Dyche's watch.
The 19-year-old, who joined the Clarets' Academy system in 2014 after leaving Manchester United, has come a long way since being named as the Clarets' Young Player of the Year last season, an achievement rewarded with a first professional contract.
McNeil, handed his first senior start in the final game of the 2017/18 campaign at home to AFC Bournemouth, has made 25 appearances across all competitions this season, starting in the second leg of Burnley's Europa League play-off against Olympiakos at Turf Moor.
His first senior goal came in a 2-0 home win over West Ham just past the midway point of the season, a result that triggered an eight-game unbeaten run in the league.
McNeil then signed a new long-term deal in the new year, one that will keep him at the club until June 2023, with the option of a possible further 12 months.
Following a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal, he said: "I'm still getting new experiences, learning and things from every game. I'm enjoying it.
"This time last year I’d just come off the bench for a couple of minutes.
"For the first half of the season I was back in the 23s but I got my chance against West Ham and I think I’ve taken it well.
"It’s a dream come true but I just want to keep pushing forward and working hard and hopefully progressing as a player."
He added: "Hopefully I can just keep playing, that’s the main thing.
"I’ll just try and let my ability take over and just keep doing what I’m doing.
"It would be great to be a part of things again next season.
"We’ve got a very good team and it’s all about competition and keeping your spot.
"It’s a great bunch of lads and they’ve been fantastic again this season."
McNeil insists that the Clarets will benefit from a break during the summer after a campaign which saw the club involved in four separate competitions.
They played 47 games in total, including three two-legged ties in Europe just as their domestic commitments were getting going.
After a real slog to secure their survival, McNeil said: "We’re pretty happy, especially because of where we were 19 games in.
"It was looking a bit tough but the lads have turned that around in the second half of the season and been fantastic.
"It was hard but we’re still in the Premier League and we get to fight another year.
"I’m ready for summer. I’ll enjoy some time off and then come back ready to go.
"That (Europa League) was new to us last year and a new experience for everyone.
"This season we know what we’ll be doing in pre-season and hopefully we can start the season strongly."