Burnley winger Dwight McNeil’s long run of successive appearances under threat ahead of Leeds United clash

Dwight McNeil has appeared in Burnley’s last 71 Premier League games.

Thursday, 24th December 2020, 10:30 pm
Dwight McNeil

That is the longest current run of consecutive appearances in the competition, along with Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse.

The 21-year-old, since starting the 2-0 win over West Ham in December 2018, has featured in every Premier League game since, starting 70, with an appearance off the bench at Everton in April 2019.

It may not quite rival Frank Lampard’s outfield record run of 164 successive Premier League appearances from October 2001 to December 2005, but, given his age, is a remarkable statistic.

That run is at doubt, as he nurses a groin injury ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leeds United, but boss Sean Dyche hopes his England Under 21 winger will be able to continue.

And while there are arguments about burn out in young players, and some who feel McNeil maybe has needed a break at some stage, Dyche insists he has stayed in the side on merit.

There was one occasion when he pondered leaving him out, after withdrawing him at half-time at Newcastle after an indifferent display in February 2019, but McNeil started the next game, and soon returned to top form.

And Dyche said of his consistency: ”71-successive games in the Premier League from when he first came in, and I don’t think he made the Young Player of the Year list last season...that’s a conundrum, there’s a strange thing...

“We’re still waiting on news on him but he’s been fantastic, mentally and physically, to handle the progress he has made, and continues to make.

“At this early stage the news is positive, in that it’s not a very serious injury, but we might have to make a decision closer to the game.

“He’s been terrific, still maturing into his body as well, very fit lad, but can run as well, he’s got pace, he’s getting stronger and sharper over the games he’s played, but he’s already done terrifically with that and continues to do so.”

Dyche added: “The main thing for me is he’s earned it, we haven’t bedded him in, played him a few games and taken him out, he’s earned the right and deserved to continue in the team.

“I think sometimes people talk about younger players playing a lot of football, but you have to remember, when you’re not in Europe, and historically haven’t had long cup runs, you do get more rest and recovery, so I think his game schedule has been appropriate.

“Dwight has done very, very well without a doubt.”