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McNeil makes the most of training with full England squad

20 March 2019

Dwight McNeil has made a point of continuing to eat breakfast with his former Under-23 team-mates at the Clarets’ training ground during his meteoric rise through the ranks.

The teenager has kept his feet firmly on the ground since breaking into the Premier League, but even he was pinching himself after sharing his morning meal with the full England squad ahead of a training session with the nation’s elite.

“I was just doing my normal routine with the Under-20s and at breakfast Paul Simpson came over and told me I was having breakfast with the seniors and training with them today,” revealed McNeil, who hadn’t even been named in an England squad before last week.

“I was just really happy and wanted to take my opportunity.

“You’ve just got to get your head around it and play your normal game, which I thought I did.

“I thought I did well, and it was a great experience for me being around the lads.

“Tarky and Heats brought me into it, but all the lads were really nice.”

McNeil’s promotion for the day made it a trio of Clarets in Gareth Southgate’s squad training at St George’s Park ahead of England’s opening Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton and defender James Tarkowski have both earned re-calls and were among those offering words of encouragement to McNeil, who certainly didn’t look out of place training in front of the watching media.

The 19-year-old showed some clinical finishing in small-sided games before conducting some brief media interviews afterwards.

He then headed back to link-up again with the Under-20 squad as they prepare for a game against Poland on Thursday.

But he hopes, one day, there may be more to come as he continues to come of age as a player at the top end of the game.

“It’s all a new experience but an experience I need and one I want and I want to keep pushing on from here,” McNeil, who scored his second Premier League goal for the Clarets’ last weekend, told Clarets Player HD.

“Confidence is high at the minute and I just want to keep it there and keep playing.

“It’s been a great experience to be with the lads, but hopefully if I play for my country on Thursday that will top it off.”

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