Burnley wideman Dwight McNeil can be a "top, top player" insists boss Sean Dyche

Dwight McNeilDwight McNeil
Dwight McNeil | jpimedia
Sean Dyche has talked up the talent of young winger Dwight McNeil for some time.

And the statistics certainly back up his argument.

On Saturday, when his throughball allowed Matej Vydra to open the scoring against Bournemouth, McNeil, aged 20 years and 92 days, became the youngest player to reach 10 Premier League assists since Raheem Sterling (19 years, 335 days) in November 2014.

McNeil added the third goal from the edge of the area later on, as he claimed an assist and a goal in the same Premier League game for the first time in his career.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At times, McNeil was unplayable, particularly in the second half, as he tormented £4m summer signing Jack Stacey, hugging the touchline at times, while drifting between the lines at others.

Dyche said: "It was a funny game for Dwighty, he was a bit quiet first half, but the whole team was, and it's hard to operate if you're not linking with other players.

"Second half he was terrific, but he's a terrific player, I've said that for months and months now.

"He continues to develop and enjoy it, I warned him again he wasn't smiling enough, brilliant bit of coaching to say 'smile more' - I don't know where that lives in the tactical and technical plan, but it seemed to work.

"I enjoy his performances, and so does he."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

McNeil has started all bar one of the last 47 Premier League games, since coming into the side and scoring in the key 2-0 win over West Ham at Turf Moor last season.

Rarely have his performances dipped, although Dyche feels if he can add more consistency in terms of his standout displays, he will become a "top, top player."

Dyche already feels he is up there with some of the best young talent he played with, the likes of Kevin Davies at Chesterfield, and Tim Cahill and Steven Reid at Millwall, and he said: "I have no doubt. If he carries on working like he is, carries on smiling, gets his shoulders back a bit more and his body language - because sometimes he tucks inside himself a bit - for me he can be a top player.

"He is but to be a top, top player you need to be consistent with your performances at the top level all of the time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"He is doing a pretty good job of that, he's nearly 50 games in and more or less 50 on the trot, so he has knocked out a lot of Premier League football for a lad who has just turned 20.

"He is a very talented player for me."