Burnley manager Sean Dyche believes teenager Dwight McNeil will not be distracted by any “outside noise” as he continues his rapid rise in the game.
McNeil has made 16 starts for Burnley in the Premier League this season, scoring three goals and providing five assists, and helped the Clarets all-but secure their top-flight safety.
The 19-year-old winger trained with England’s senior squad for the first time while on duty with the under-20s last month and has inevitably been linked with a move away from Turf Moor, but Dyche is confident McNeil will take it all in his stride.
“He’s been here long enough to see that happen to other players, hopefully he’ll take it as one of those things,” Dyche said ahead of Monday’s trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“He’s certainly in a balanced environment here, where I can’t see him running away with any outside noise, he seems to be quite steady and enjoying his football. That’s what I want him to do, play with a smile on his face and enjoy the challenge.”
Newcastle, Arsenal, Everton and Manchester City have all been linked with McNeil, but Dyche is not interested in putting a price on the player, whose contract runs until the summer of 2023.
“It’s a strange one, regarding his worth,” Dyche added. “I look at some of the figures bandied about for some of these young players, and I don’t know what you put on him. His worth to the team I’m more interested in, and that’s the way he’s delivering performances.
“I like his assuredness. He’s quiet, he’s calm, but there’s a toughness in there, particularly to have the ball. That’s something that can come and go with players, but he’s certainly got that desire to grip a game with the ball, ‘give me the ball, I want to do something’.
“That’s a powerful thing, particularly in a young player, because sometimes that’s hard, but he will have the ball under any circumstances, he wants the ball, to try and produce something.”
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