James Tarkowski claims it’s only natural that some of the so-called ‘bigger clubs’ in the Premier League will be showing an interest in teenage winger Dwight McNeil over the summer.
Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton and Newcastle United are among the growing list of clubs reportedly monitoring the 19-year-old, who contributed to eight goals for the Clarets in the top flight this term.
The former Manchester United youth product, who signed a new four-and-a-half year deal at Turf Moor at the turn of the year, received his first England call up when added to Paul Simpson’s Under 20s squad back in March, featuring in games against Poland and Portugal.
“It’s only natural,” he said. “Any player doing well in the game will have people sniffing around them, especially with the age he is. He’s still so young and he’s got so much time to improve.
“That statistic [most productive teenager in the PL] wouldn’t surprise me because of his quality and the demand from him.
“He wants the ball, he wants to beat people, he’s gone to some big places and gone up against some big players and shown how good he is.
“Away at Anfield, even though we were beaten, he was our best player that day and he’s probably been one of our best players over the second half of the season. That shows how good he is but he just needs to keep doing that now.”
McNeil was invited to train with the senior setup by coach Gareth Southgate prior to the Three Lions’ UEFA European Championship qualifying games against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Tarkowski revealed that McNeil looked the part during his cameo at St George’s Park, but recognised that the challenge for the youngster is to maintain this form consistently over a number of years.
McNeil went on to collect his sixth cap for the Young Lions when featuring at the Maurice Revello Tournament.
He appeared in games against Japan, Portugal and Chile before finding the net for the first time at international level in a 4-0 win against Guatemala at the Stade Marcel Cerdan.
The Burnley centre back said: “It [the environment with England] doesn’t change him at all. He just wants the ball to show what he can do but, also, he’s got that work rate side to his game now.
“He wants to go and press, get back in to position, which is an important part of our team. Anybody could come in and look good on the ball but if they didn’t put the work in off it they’d be straight out the team. He’s shown both sides.
“For Dwight I think it was quite a good situation because we were struggling for points and a couple of the widemen were injured.
“Dwight got his opportunity and he took his chance, which is what you need to do in football. It’s all about getting opportunities, he grabbed it with both hands and performed to the level he has been doing since he first came in.
“He had been one of our top performers in pretty much every game. Fair play to him but now the challenge is to keep doing it week in week out.
“It’s all well and good having a good six months, but in football you’ve got to keep on going for six/seven years. He needs to keep doing that now.”