Teenage Clarets winger Dwight McNeil is a shining light in difficult time for Burnley
While Burnley are enduring a testing time in the Premier League, boss Sean Dyche insists it will only benefit teenage winger Dwight McNeil’s development.
The Clarets suffered their fourth-successive defeat at home to Leicester City on Saturday – a result which leaves them two points above the drop zone.
And Cardiff City, in 18th – who come to Turf Moor next month – also have a game in hand.
But 19-year-old McNeil was again a shining light for Burnley, scoring the equaliser in a 2-1 reverse.
He now has four assists and two goals this season, with Fulham’s much-vaunted Ryan Sessegnon (five assists, two goals) the only teenager who can top that in the Premier League.
McNeil earned his first official England Under 20 call up on Thursday, and Dyche said: “He was good again, he continues to grow, I’m enjoying everything he’s doing.
“One of his best things is when he has a lull in a game, it doesn’t put him off, he keeps going and keeps going, he’ll give you another moment, and I think that’s a real powerful thing to do for a young man.
“When you’re young, performances can creep away from you and you’re not quite sure how you can get it back, but he’s got a fantastic weapon of finding another moment, even if he’s having a quiet spell, where he grows again.”
Dyche added: “He scored another goal and looked a threat again.
“All these experiences for him are superb.
“I think that will continue his growth as a player, because it’s the whole feel, not just out there, it will certainly stand him in good stead.
“The odd mistake he makes is quickly forgotten by me, he’s learning the game at the top level in a team still finding it tough at times, so massive credit to him.”
McNeil trained with the England Under 20s squad in October as a stand-by player but has now been officially drafted in to the group, who face Poland at St George’s Park on Thursday, before taking on Portugal in Penafiel on Tuesday.
Dyche hailed his footballing intelligence: “Dwight is more a modern winger in a sense where he plays inside, outside, and he can drift into good positions.
“He kind of drifts in centrally, because of his understanding of the wide role, but he has played in there with a three as well.
“There’s a cleverness to him, his understanding of the attacking side of the tactical shape of the team is very good.
“Some of it is natural, we haven’t over-coached him, he gets into good positions anyway. Really we’ve been coaching him on small details, not all the big stuff. You can overwhelm young players with too much, and we’ve shown him some clips and spoken to him about some things, but a lot of it is letting him go at the minute because he’s doing so well.”