Burnley manager Sean Dyche has hailed Dwight McNeil as a “very adaptable player” after the in-demand winger slotted into an unfamiliar role in the Clarets’ previous match.
A spate of injuries to his strikers against Crystal Palace on Monday saw Dyche move the 20-year-old from his usual left-wing role to a number 10 position just behind lone centre-forward Matej Vydra, a switch which yielded dividends as the Clarets left Selhurst Park victorious.
As per Burnley Express, the manager said about McNeil after that game: “He’s a very adaptable player, and it looked like he enjoyed it”, adding that “it is certainly a massive benefit for young players to learn how to do that”.
McNeil, who is valued at £16.2m by TransferMarkt, has been the subject of transfer speculation linking him with Manchester United, Everton and Crystal Palace, and Dyche admitted to Lancashire Live earlier this week that the possibility of the youngster leaving Burnley is a very realistic one.
The 20-year-old has two goals and six assists to his name this season, most recently setting up Jay Rodriguez’s winner against Watford last week, and has played primarily on the left flank over the course of his fledgling career.
However, the Crystal Palace game was not his first time being moved from the left wing. He has played on the right flank on a handful of occasions and scored against Chelsea from that position earlier this term. Monday was the first time, though, that he has played in a central role rather than out wide and he adapted commendably, getting two shots on target as well as completing 24 of his 30 passes and finding a team-mate with four of his five long balls against the Eagles (as per Sofascore).
Dyche is hopeful of having Rodriguez back for Sunday’s clash against Sheffield United, although Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood remain sidelined (as per premierinjuries.com).
Will Dwight McNeil still be at Burnley next season?
At least if there is another game where Burnley have only one centre-forward available, the manager knows that he can depend on McNeil to take up a number 10 role behind the target man. Also, for the youngster himself, an ability to learn how to play in a variety of attacking positions should stand to him as his career develops.
Burnley fans, did you think McNeil played well in a central role against Crystal Palace? Have your say by commenting below!
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