EXCLUSIVE: Leicester lead Prem rivals to sign outstanding Burnley star
Leicester, Wolves and Everton are all chasing Burnley’s outstanding young England prospect Dwight McNeil, TEAMtalk understands.
The 19-year-old, an England Under-21 international, has become an integral part of Sean Dyche’s first team in the last 18 months, having been promoted through the youth ranks.
McNeil, who began life in Manchester United’s youth set-up, has recently signed a new long-term deal, but Burnley could be forced to fend off strong interest in the winter window with a number of Premier League rivals all understood to be ready to test Clarets’ resolve to keep the left-footer, who is rated in the £30m bracket.
And we understand it is Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes who are most strongly considering an approach for the player after watching him closely in recent weeks.
Dyche admitted earlier in the season that he expects McNeil, who was linked with Newcastle over the summer, to enjoy a stellar career in the game and conceded that he will one day “outgrow” the Clarets.
“We want him to get recognition because he deserves it, he’s a very good player,” said the Burnley boss back in August.
“I mentioned last year the effect he had on the team. I think he’s maturing into himself as a person, not just as a footballer.
“He’s more and more relaxed around the group and what he does as a professional, and I want him to continue to show that on the pitch. I think he’s doing a good job all round.
“He remains very humble, he remains driven to what he wants to do and they’re important qualities. He’s got to remain like that to really go to the top, first of all with us. I think he can go beyond us and can go on to pastures new at a higher level of club.”
Speaking about the improvements he has made to his game, Dyche added: “The best players I always think just raise their minimums so that on a quiet day they are still good.
“I think on a quiet day he can still find a moment, a pass, a cross, a goal or a set-piece and he remains diligent to the basics. He works hard for the team and works hard in his pressing positions and he works very, very hard on
transition. I have been really pleased.
“Sometimes players grip hold of a challenge and just continue. It is completely different but I remember Roy Keane getting pulled out of nowhere when I was at Forest and being put in the first-team squad and he played at Anfield and never looked back.
“Dwight has taken his chance. He delivered over half a season, he is still delivering, and some continue their development and growth weekly.”