Burnley transfer news: Clarets ‘battling’ Southampton for defender, West Ham reportedly target Aston Villa star
Boss Sean Dyche felt Dwight McNeil was in need of a ‘breather’ after naming the Burnley winger on the bench against Liverpool.
The 22-year-old had started every game this season and hadn’t been out of the XI, when fit, since the 1-0 loss against West Ham United at the London Stadium 13 months ago.
Dyche, the Premier League‘ s longest-serving manager at present, opted for Aaron Lennon on the right hand side while keeping Maxwel Cornet in front of Erik Pieters as new man Wout Weghorst and Jay Rodriguez continued their partnership in attack.
The ex-England Under 21 international had started 21 games at the back end of last season, and 20 this term, leading Dyche to take the former Manchester United Academy product out of the firing line for a brief spell.
“We just want him to get direct and enjoy his football,” said Dyche. “He has taken a lot of weight on his shoulders and he is more experienced and the fans want more and that is part of his professional development.
“When you come in everyone is behind you because you are young and playing and then suddenly people go ‘hang on a minute, we have seen a lot of you and we want you to deliver’ and there is a bit more outside noise about it.
“I think he is tremendous player but it is about giving him a little break full stop. He has played virtually every game since I put him in. He has played a lot of football.
“I just thought it was time for him to come out a little bit and get a breather, it might only be one game, because I thought he came on and effected it.”
McNeil was introduced just after the hour against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds as the hosts went in search of an equaliser.
The home side trailed to Fabinho’s close range finish five minutes before the break despite being the better side beforehand.
And Dyche was pleased with McNeil’s impact after replacing Rodriguez. “He spoke well about how he was feeling about it and I thought he came on with a very positive attitude,” he said.
“He whipped a couple of great crosses in and looked more direct which is how he was when he first came into the side. We spoke to him about it and that is what we want.”