No concerns over Dwight McNeil's fitness after Burnley winger misses out on international call

Burnley's Dwight McNeil was a surprise omission from the England Under 21 squad for the latest European Championship qualifiers.

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 12:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 12:28 pm
Dwight McNeil of England in action as Kyle Walker of England looks on during an England training session during an England Media Access day at St Georges Park on March 19, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

But there are no concerns over the winger's fitness after the 20-year-old was left out of the 23-man group.

McNeil's availability had been questioned when the latest squad was announced. However, the former Manchester United Academy star is ready and raring to tackle pre-season with the Clarets.

Instead, Young Lions boss Aidy Boothroyd called 17-year-old Jude Bellingham up for the first time following the teenager's move from Birmingham City to Borussia Dortmund.

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Ebere Eze (Queens Park Rangers), Rhian Brewster (Liverpool), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Reiss Nelson (Arsenal) and Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) were also named on the list of forwards.

Boothroyd's side are top of Group C having won their first four matches. They are scheduled to play in Kosovo on September 4th before travelling to Austria four days later.

McNeil, who started every game in the Premier League last term, featured in the 5-1 win against Austria in Milton Keynes in October, laying on a goal for Nketiah.

Speaking after the squad was announced, Boothroyd said: "We're all really looking forward to meeting up for the first time since November," said Boothroyd.

"We have two testing away matches against our closest rivals in the group and it'll be a good opportunity for the players to come together again, even if it will be an unusual experience with no crowds at either of the fixtures.

"We had a 2-0 home victory against Kosovo in Hull a year ago and I remember they made things difficult for us with a disciplined defensive performance.

"After that, we played really well in a 5-1 win against Austria in Milton Keynes, which I'm sure our hosts will want to make amends for when we make the return trip.

"We know we are in good shape for the qualification and this is a hungry squad that has a great opportunity in front of them with next summer's finals not too far away.

"We have to get the job done first and these will be two tough fixtures. I am looking forward to seeing the players again and helping them with another key stage in their development."

The squad will meet up at St George's Park on Monday.