Full debut is a dream come true for McNeil

Clarets teenager Dwight McNeil has described his recent rise to the first team as 'a dream come true'.

Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 8:30 am
Burnley's Dwight McNeil Photographer Alex Dodd/CameraSport UEFA Europa League - UEFA Europa League Qualifying Second Leg 2 - Burnley v Olympiakos - Thursday August 30th 2018 - Turf Moor - Burnley World Copyright © 2018 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com

In the space of a few days the 18-year-old has faced 44-time Greek champions Olympiakos in the Europa League - his full debut for the club - and 20-time English champions Manchester United, both at Turf Moor.

McNeil, who made his debut in the Premier League when replacing Aaron Lennon against AFC Bournemouth on the final day of last season, was rewarded with his maiden start in the top flight at the weekend, taking on the club that released him as a youngster.

“It’s been a dream come true, it’s happened so fast,” he said. “I found out on Wednesday I was starting in Europe.

“With how the first leg went being 3-1 down I didn’t expect to be starting, I just expected to be in and around it. But I was really happy when I found out I was starting.”

McNeil, replaced by striker Chris Wood against Olympiakos, left the field to a standing ovation on Thursday evening while his contribution was acknowledged by Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

That performance led to McNeil’s inclusion in the XI that played against Jose Mourinho’s United. “It’s good, it gives you confidence and it’s nice to know the fans are behind you as well,” he said.

“I started at United and I’m a United fan as well, I couldn’t believe it, it was another dream come true, but it’s about taking it in and taking it on board.

“I just need to keep playing well. I want to play as best as I can to get more games.”

Meanwhile, McNeil has confirmed that the support and encouragement from management, staff and his team-mates has been impeccable and helped his confidence soar.

“He (the gaffer) thinks I’m doing well but I’ve still got a lot to learn and a long way to go yet.

“It’s good to learn off the other wingers and ask them questions, all the lads help you, they’re a good bunch of lads to be around.

“They know what I can do, everyone makes mistakes but they say don’t let it affect you and next time do the right thing.

“It’s great to have that support, it gives you that extra boost and extra confidence to know other people believe in you and you just need to believe in yourself.”