McNeil getting back to his best again
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The 22-year-old had started every game this season up to the visit of the Reds to Turf Moor earlier this month, and was an ever-present in the side when fit back to the 1-0 loss against West Ham United at the London Stadium in January 2021.
Dyche said at the time: "I think he is tremendous player but it is about giving him a little break full stop. He has played virtually every game since I put him in. He has played a lot of football.
"I just thought it was time for him to come out a little bit and get a breather, it might only be one game, because I thought he came on and effected it."
It was indeed a one-game break, as McNeil returned to the side for the 3-0 win at Brighton, and has started the last four games.
Dyche wanted to see a more direct McNeil, and the former England Under 21 international is taking the advice on board: "He was quiet at the start of the game the other night, but he grew into it, built into it.
"He’s going forwards more, carrying the ball forwards more and he’s playing more, and that’s what we spoke to him about, getting back to that freedom to go and take the full back on – he’s doing that better and better.
"We know he’s got quality, and I think he’s building back into the strength he can show as a player.
"We’re really pleased with that and pleased for him. He thinks a lot about his football, almost too much, but he’s getting back to where he wants to be and where we want him to be.”
McNeil is yet to score this season, having an effort disallowed for off-side at Brighton, while he only has one assist.
But in other metrics he is showing up well – only Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse have put over more crosses this season, and only Newcastle’s Alain Saint-Maximin has completed more dribbles.
He is also ninth in the Premier League in terms of tackles, and Dyche added: "I said there was more to come from him with other parts of his game, but I think he’s doing a lot of realy good work for the team, and he is getting in more advanced positions at times – against Brighton I remember him breaking the back line a number of times, especially running across the pitch, stretching the back four.
"If we can get him to add that back into his game...he just had a kind of period where he was kind of drifting through games, but he’s certainly not now, he’s beginning to go and grip it again, and we like that about him.
"Dwight’s like most footballers, when he’s in a good place for himself, he’s often playing at his best, and the two often work hand in hand.”