'I believe, with improvement, he can be good enough for the top teams' - Dwight McNeil's dad, Matty, has high hopes for the Burnley winger

Matty McNeil believes son, Dwight, has got everything going for him and he firmly believes that the Burnley winger is destined to go all the way to the top.
Burnley winger Dwight McNeil in action against Newcastle United at Turf MoorBurnley winger Dwight McNeil in action against Newcastle United at Turf Moor
Burnley winger Dwight McNeil in action against Newcastle United at Turf Moor

The Oldham Athletic academy coach knows the England Under 21 international better than anyone having watched his development at close quarters from his childhood.

The ex-Manchester United man has progressed at a rate of knots since breaking onto the scene in his late teens.

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McNeil, who is closing in on 50 Premier League starts, has contributed to 15 goals so far and his performances are suggesting that those numbers will soon grow.

Burnley's Dwight McNeilBurnley's Dwight McNeil
Burnley's Dwight McNeil

"He's comfortable, composed, he's cool on the ball," said McNeil snr. "He has good vision, he's a good passer of the ball, his decision making is massive in the game and that's also one of his qualities.

"He's getting a lot of joy coming off the shape, he's getting his shots off, he overloads in midfield and the opposition just doesn't know what to do at times. He's doing really well.

"It would be best for him to stay put at the moment and go that way instead of him going to a top team and just sitting there and getting drip fed into it.

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"We know that he's not the fastest player in the world, but there are a lot of players like that who play for the top teams.

"He's still developing and he's still working on things; his work rate, tracking back, being more proactive at times rather than reactive"

He added: "I'm watching him and I know what he should be doing. He's got a great opportunity, he's only 20, he doesn't like losing, he's got everything going for him to keep improving.

"I believe, with improvement, he can be good enough for the top teams, but some of the top teams seem to favour foreign players, who Dwight can be as good as.

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"When he bulks out a little bit more, adding muscle, that's when he'll get stronger and quicker and then he's got to keep developing his football brain.

"He's got to keep working hard and listening to his manager and coaches. It is pressurised, I know how intense it can be, you've got to fight, but he's got to enjoy it."

McNeil snr, who appeared in Stockport County's League Two play-off final win over Rochdale in 2008, is adamant that the best is yet to come from the 20-year-old.

The Young Lion has netted twice this term - against Chelsea and AFC Bournemouth at Turf Moor - with both goals scored from outside the area.

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That was a regular occurrence when McNeil was working his way through the ranks. "He's always been one of the best boys in his age group and he's always scored fantastic goals," said the former Macclesfield Town striker.

"He's scored better goals than those that you've seen for the first team. They'll come in time because through the under 15s, 16s, youth team, under 23s, he's always scored goals from outside the area for fun.

"He just bangs them and they'll fly into the top corner. It's a different game for the first team - I understand that and he's beginning to understand it.

"Before you're getting your long range shots off there's a lot of work to be done to get to those points. You've got to get into that situation because football is improvised.

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"You just don't know what's going to happen in the game. He's started scoring long range goals and they'll come more often as people start to give him the ball a lot more.

"The rise has been good and he deserves credit as do the coaching staff and everybody at Burnley. He doesn't realise how lucky he is! He's done well and one of his key secrets is his love for the game.

"I still keep telling him to watch the best players about. With games and experience he can only get better. He'll definitely get better, 100%."