Dwight McNeil opens up on his first 'blip' at Burnley and his plans to make a difference in crucial Premier League run-in

The first 'blip' of Dwight McNeil's career has served as an eye-opening learning curve for the Burnley winger.

By Dan Black
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 6:00 am

The 22-year-old confessed that the 2021-22 campaign had been his most challenging to date as he found himself struggling for form.

But those hardships — when things weren't going all his own way — have sent the former England Under 21 international on a journey of self-discovery.

"At first it was a bit hard when I wasn't playing the way I know I wanted to play, and it got harder and harder as the games came round, and I think this season has been the hardest season for me, personally," he said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Rodrigo Bentancur of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Dwight McNeil of Burnley during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 15, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

"There have been a number of different challenges. It's one of the first blips that I've had in my career and there's been a lot to deal with. It's a bit more difficult when you're a young lad and it can take a bit more time.

"I've learned that it's not always going to go your way, and that's when you really need to stick at it. Firstly, you've got to try hard for the team and then worry about yourself afterwards."

Though the ex-Manchester United academy star is prominent in a number of Premier League categories, he's admittedly disappointed with the data that matters the most.

McNeil is ranked eighth in the division in terms of tackles made with 77 and is fourth overall — level with Andy Robertson and behind James Ward-Prowse, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Son Heung Min — for crosses (188).

However, the former Young Lion has no goals and just one assist [in the 3-1 win at home to Brentford] this term. That's something he's hopeful of changing in the final two games of term.

He said: "I'm starting to come through the other side. I just want to get back to playing to my best. I've not been impressed with my stats this season, it's just a stage in my career that I'm going through at the minute and I obviously want to change that.

"This season hasn't been great but the last five games I've shown that I'm capable of doing what I've been doing. I know the next game is just as important as those last five so I've just got to get ready for that.

"I want to try and finish the season as best I can because I know I can't get that time back now. It's about looking forward.

"It [Premier League survival] would mean a lot for me personally and it would mean a lot for the club as well and the fans. We're all in it together and we'll keep going right until the end."