Burnley tie winger McNeil down to long-term deal

Dwight McNeil
Dwight McNeil

Burnley’s teenage winger Dwight McNeil has signed a new long-term contract.

The 19-year-old has agreed terms on a new deal, taking him through to the summer of 2023, with a one-year option.

The deal rounds off a remarkable few months for the Rochdale-born youngster, who only signed his first professional contract at Turf Moor last April.

McNeil made his senior debut as a substitute on the final day of last season against Bournemouth, and has quickly developed into a key member of Sean Dyche’s senior squad, starting the last five games.

“A lot has happened in a short space of time and I’m happy to have signed a new deal,” said McNeil.

“I hadn’t really thought this far ahead but I’m just happy it’s come so soon.

“The main aim was to sign it so I can focus on my football and I’ve done that now so I can focus and crack on with what I’m doing.

“I think I’ve taken my opportunity well and hopefully I can build on that.

“Hopefully I can stay in the team and really focus on this season. I think we’re doing well and we’ve got to keep that form going.

“It’s a dream staying in the Premier League. It’s the best league in the world and you always want to stay and play in the Premier League.”

McNeil joined the Clarets’ youth set-up in 2014 after leaving Manchester United.

The left-sided player started a full-time two-year scholarship two years later and after impressing at Under-18 and Under-23 level earned a professional contract.

He has since made eight first-team starts, plus three further appearances from the bench, across four different competitions, making his full senior debut in the Europa League at the end of August.

His first Premier League start came a few days later against Manchester United and his first top-flight goal in a 2-0 win over West Ham United at the end of December.

McNeil is the first ‘homegrown’ player to make a major first-team impact at Turf Moor since Burnley-born striker Jay Rodriguez but reflects the increasing success of the Clarets’ Academy.

Defender Jimmy Dunne is currently on loan at Sunderland, while full-back Ali Koiki made his first senior start for Swindon Town last weekend. And a number of other graduates are now forging careers at Football League level.