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Youngsters In Senior Set-Up 'On Merit'

Sean Dyche gives young prospects a feel of the first team

16 July 2018

Sean Dyche took a handful of young players on the Clarets’ pre-season trip to Ireland, saying their inclusion with the senior squad was “on merit.”

Aiden O’Neil, Jimmy Dunne, both 20, Daniel Agyei, 21, and Dwight McNeil, 18, made up the outfield quartet on duty with the senior squad at their training base at Fota Island near Cork last week.

All four then featured in the Clarets’ 1-0 win over Cork City on Friday night when defender Dunne (below) scored the winner.  


The former Manchester United youngster is back at Turf Moor for pre-season following last season’s highly successful loan spell with League Two champions Accrington Stanley.

O’Neill and Agyei also had further spells out on loan last season, while McNeil made a Premier League debut as a substitute on the final day of the campaign after signing a first professional contract at Turf Moor.

“They’ve all done well. Dwight, differently because he did well in-house, but the lads went out on loan and did really well,” said Dyche, who also gave O'Neill and Agyei Premier League debuts in 2016/17.

“In pre-season we always find time for the young players to come with us and get a feel of it. 

Dwight McNeil impressed in the friendly win at Turner’s Cross

“We’ll see what happens next before the window shuts but they’re certainly with us on merit at the moment.

“Jimmy did brilliantly on loan, Dan is someone who we are always wanting more from, who is always showing signs.

“Aiden is a very steady player, for a young player a very mature player, and Dwight, of course, got a little squeeze at the end of last season.

“We like what Dwight is doing. He’s worked really hard this pre-season and is looking really fit, as the others have, so it’s good they were with us.”

Goalkeeper Conor Mitchell was also part of the squad training in Ireland with the Clarets keen to get the 22-year-old further first-team experience out on loan when the new season starts.

Aiden O'Neill played for 90 minutes at Turner's Cross

For now, however, the young players are set to stay involved for the next phase of the Clarets’ build-up to the new campaign with two behind-closed-doors friendlies against League One opposition to be played at the Barnfield training ground on Tuesday.

Dyche will then split his squad again on Friday night for games at Macclesfield Town and Curzon Ashton before a trip to Preston North End next Monday night – just three days before Burnley kick off their European campaign with the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round tie at Aberdeen.

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