Young Lion Dwight McNeil destined for bigger and better things - Burnley boss Sean Dyche
Dwight McNeil is expected to be named in the England squad for the group stages of the UEFA Under 21 Championships at 11 a.m. this morning.
And Sean Dyche has reiterated that he feels the 21-year-old talent is destined for bigger and better things than Burnley.
McNeil scored his first goal away from Turf Moor on Saturday evening, a goal of the season contender in the 2-1 win at Everton.
But Dyche feels his work against the ball was every bit as impressive, pressing high to win possession, as well as tracking back when the opposition attack.
Dyche believes his ability to do the ugly side of the game stands him in good stead: “I think he continues to develop under the radar, but he certainly won't be under the radar after that goal!
"I think there's a healthy balance to his development, he has such a conscientious view of his own performances, it's almost too much, it's overpowering sometimes.
"When he plays with that edge of freedom, as well as doing the work for the team - we have a team that has to work - his quality...I see it all the time in training, it's a great moment to see it come to life in a game.
"He works incredibly hard, we're not blessed with the riches of others, to buy true, true quality - I believe we've got quality, without a doubt - but we ask everyone to work hard, and he certainly does a shift.
"He's learning on that side of the game as well, and that will stand him in good stead.
"I believe one day he'll go on to bigger and better than Burnley, not because I don't think we're a big club or a good club, but maybe the super power clubs, and I think they'll marvel and the fact he works so hard for the team, as well as the fact he can deal with the ball, without a doubt.”
Dyche laughed that he was screaming at McNeil to pass the ball before he scored, cutting back past Allan before curling the ball right in the top left corner: "It's a fantastic goal, it shows how much I know, I was shouting at him to switch it, and he chops inside and bends it in the top corner. That's the quality of my management at times!
"But the lads all believe in him, I believe in him, I think he just puts too much pressure on himself.
"I've said many times, you've got to relax and play with a smile a bit more, because he demands a lot from himself.
"That's a great quality, but sometimes too much - he comes in after games and looks like he's broken because he hasn't done the things he thinks he can do.
"Admirable, but sometimes you have to lighten up, and he certainly was cheery when he came in after this one!
"He's a very, very good player and can only get better.”
Aidy Boothroyd’s Young Lions squad take on Switzerland on Thursday, March 25th, Portugal on Sunday the 28th and Croatia on Wednesday the 31st, all in Slovenia, with the group winners and runners-up advancing to the final stages at the end of May and start of June.
The experience can only serve McNeil well, as Dyche said: “He has been in and around it, I think there was one squad he didn't get involved with, which was a bit of a surprise, but he is a regular in the Premier League and that has to stand you in good stead
“All the different challenges as you mature as a player are important, at all stages of your career actually, but particularly when you are younger.
“It can only be a good thing for him experience wise to be involved in these things.”