Sean Dyche's thoughts on England call-ups for Heaton, Tarkowski and McNeil

Dwight McNeil
Dwight McNeil
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Sean Dyche feels Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil thoroughly merit their England call ups.

And he has no issue with McNeil being named in Paul Simpson's Under 20s squad, rather than Aidy Boothroyd's Under 21s.

Heaton and Tarkowski are back in Gareth Southgate's senior squad, and Dyche said: "I think it's another marker, two very, very professional people doing well, particularly since Christmas, I think Tarky's been very good, and Heats coming back into the side.

"I think it's good Gareth has recognised him before, under Roy, and then himself, with the top quality professional that he is.

"But it's good for them, and also beneath them with Dwight McNeil getting a call up to the Under 20s, it's great for Dwight and he continues to earn the right for those sort of things."

It is Heaton's first call since June 2017, after injury and the form of Nick Pope and Joe Hart kept him out of the picture at Turf Moor, and Dyche added: "It's about Tom's form, and that's been very good, and Tarky as well, he had a couple of ups and downs early in the season with injuries, and then he's settled down and performed well.

"It's good for them, good for us and good for the club to continue to be recognised at international level, not just for England.

"That's a big shift from when I arrived here."

Dyche had said of McNeil's Under 21 hopes on Sunday: “I would think he’s got to be considered.

“But I never question any managers choosing a team or squad, because it’s difficult.”

But, despite starting the last 11 Premier League games, claiming four assists and a goal, he had a first call for the younger age group instead, and Dyche noted: "I think, to be fair, there's a bit of loyalty in international football as well, I know Aidy well, and he's got a group there who've done well, as the Under 20s have as well, so I don't think it's a given that because you're playing in the Premier League you should definitely play in those groups.

"But he's earned the right, and if he does well there, then in due course he will be recognised in the Under 21s.

"One step at a time, and he's going along very nicely, so we're more concentrating on him continuing to enjoy his performances."