Burnley have no superstars – but Dwight McNeil could take on that mantle

Burnley may be a side without superstars – although Sean Dyche feels Dwight McNeil is on the path to becoming an “extraordinary” talent.

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 12:00 pm
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Dwight McNeil of England U21s takes part in a training session at St Georges Park on November 11, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/2019 Getty Images)

But that suits the Clarets boss, as his team ethic continues to bear fruit.

Burnley are consistently more than the sum of their parts, outperforming their wage bill and transfer budget year on year in the Premier League.

They sit seventh ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Crystal Palace, and Dyche said: “Dwight McNeil is learning to be extraordinary, but the extraordinary side of it usually costs money, and lots of it. So, if you haven’t got extraordinary, you’ve still got to win, whatever you think about it.

“We plan on winning by using the people we’ve got, and if a strong mentality, good organisation, good fitness, good team unit is part of that, then I’m all for it.

“Simple as that. Some of what I try to do, and what I think about football, is quite logical, it’s just everybody tries to pull it apart and stretch it everywhere to make it weirdly sometimes illogical, asking players to do things they can’t do, asking teams to play this way that is impossible for them to play.

“I just choose not to do that, I choose to play in an effective way, because of the tools and the parts we have to make it so.”

So much of what Dyche preaches is commonsense – old school mixed with modern thinking.

And the old values are often among the most important, like humility and respect: “I do like camaraderie, I do think that is an important part.

“You have a lot of outside noise now as footballers, very good money, maybe not as much as others at our club, but still good money, but there’s a lot of outside pressure, and we try and take that all away when they come into the training ground, me as well.

“No egos, we’re all the same, we can all speak with each other, share our ideas, work hard, which we do. And when they go away, they can be whatever they want to be in their private lives.

“But when we’re at the training ground, we’re all thinking as one.

“They take a few question marks, but they respect the unit and each other, and what we try and do, and that’s a big thing for me.

I’ve said many, many times, these words we use are old-fashioned traits, key core values, they are still important, vital for me - pride, will, demand, work ethic, team ethic, respect, honesty.

“In modern society I don’t think they’re as obvious as when I was brought up, but I still value them and put them into the team and say ‘this is the glue that holds it together’. Your talent will show, but we have to have the glue that holds it together, and we work heavily on that, to reinforce that, and so far, they’ve seen the rewards.”