Big talent Dwight McNeil showing he is adaptable - Burnley boss Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche admits playing Dwight McNeil off the front was a case of needs must at Crystal Palace.
Dwight McNeilDwight McNeil
Dwight McNeil

The 20-year-old wide man impressed in behind sole forward Matej Vydra at Selhurst Park, in the absence of Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez.

Afterwards, Dyche said: “It is (a sign of things to come) when we’ve got this many players! If we had more players, it might be slightly different.

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“He’s a very adaptable player, and it looked like he enjoyed it.”

But Dyche has been pleased with McNeil’s form since the restart, with his cross leading to Rodriguez’s winner against Watford at Turf Moor last Thursday.

That assist was his sixth of the season - double that of Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha - and showed he can contribute even when he is having a quiet spell in the game.

Dyche said: “It is certainly a massive benefit for young players to learn how to do that. When you are young, to find a consistency in your performances across a number of games is difficult.

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"People forget there is a consistency within a performance, doing the right things as much as you can all of the time.

“It is something that often comes with maturity where, if it is not going to be your day to be the main man, still do the bit for the team that counts. I think that is what Dwight is learning to do.”

“He knew he had a quiet 20-25 minutes. He was still getting in the right positions defensively, still working to do the right things and then when his moment comes, we know he is a talent. He is working now for his moments.

“Particularly wide players, not just in our side, wide players can be really quiet in games. You can have 15 minutes where you hardly see the ball but then that one chance you get is your moment to go and deliver, and even then sometimes the decision is not to deliver something clever, it’s actually to just keep the ball and play simple.

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“I think he is doing a good job of learning that and I think he has a nice balance to his temperament that is allowing him to learn that.

“He is definitely in a good group of people around him because the players treat him with a lot of respect but equally can get their arm around his shoulder or give him a nudge when he needs it. He is doing nicely that’s for sure.”