Sean Dyche believes Dwight McNeil is firmly in the mix for a first England Under 21 call-up.
The 19-year-old again outlined his huge potential at Anfield on Sunday, as Burnley lost 4-2 to Liverpool, and feels he has a big chance of being named in Aidy Boothroyd’s squad.
The Young Lions host Poland at Ashton Gate a week on Thursday, and then face European champions Germany at the Vitality Stadium a fortnight tomorrow.
With Tom Heaton and James Tarkowski, potentially among others, hoping for a call for the senior squad tomorrow, McNeil is being tipped for the Young Lions, after starting the last 11 Premier League games, scoring once and claiming four assists.
He was a shining light in Burnley’s 4-2 defeat against Liverpool on Sunday, giving Liverpool’s Three Lions right back Trent Alexander-Arnold several uncomfortable moments.
And Dyche said: “It was an absolute top-drawer performance from Dwight McNeil.
“That young man has got a massive chance of being a top, top player in my opinion.
“He continues to grow.
“Every time I wonder whether I should leave him out, I think ‘no, keep the boy playing’.
“I think it’s good for him, and us, but if he keeps his head down and keeps working like he is doing, he’s got a massive future.
“I thought he was winning the battle (with Alexander-Arnold), and he’s a fantastic right back.
“But I thought Dwight was outstanding, just his composure and belief in what he does.”
McNeil was withdrawn at half-time at Newcastle United a fortnight ago, with Dyche taking responsibility, and he added: “He had one blip, which was probably my fault, I should have taken him out at Newcastle after the euphoria of beating Tottenham, but other than that, he’s been outstanding.
“I could have taken him off, but I didn’t want to, I was enjoying his performance that much, I thought ‘keep playing son’.
“Fantastic to see youngsters going and doing that.”
Asked whether he has a chance of an Under 21 call, Dyche added: “I would think he’s got to be considered.
“But I never question any managers choosing a team or squad, because it’s difficult.”
McNeil and left back Charlie Taylor were Burnley’s standout performers at Liverpool, and Dyche feels Taylor is also making huge strides: “I thought the left side was strong.
“Charlie Taylor is another one who has developed as the season has gone on.
“He keeps growing and growing and maturing.”