Dwight McNeil has come a long way in a short space of time as he prepares to face Bournemouth again.
The Clarets’ winger made his Premier League debut against the Cherries as a late substitute on the final day of the 2017/18 season as Burnley headed into Europe.
The 20-year-old had signed a first professional contract only a month earlier.
And now as he prepares for a reunion with Eddie Howe’s men – having watched last season’s 4-0 home win from the bench – he is in line to make his 49th Premier League appearance and extend his ever-present record this term.
“Since then I haven’t looked back. It’s been life-changing for me, it’s come so fast,” admitted McNeil, who has started all of the Clarets’ Premier League games bar one since he burst back into the limelight at the half-way point of last season.
“I don’t think my mentality has changed from playing in the Under-23s to playing in the first team.
“I have taken the same mentality and hopefully show people what I can do on the pitch.
“I’m not looking out of place, but I have to keep going and take things one at a time.
“I didn’t expect to play as many games as I have this year, but I’m happy that I have, and hopefully I can keep the performances going and keep playing well.
“I didn’t expect it at the start of the season, but now looking at it that’s my aim, to be part of every game going into the final day.
“I’ve played a lot of games which shows the belief the gaffer and the lads have in me.”
McNeil was one of the catalysts behind the Clarets’ resurgence last season as he took the step up to regular Premier League action in his languid stride to earn England recognition.
Now an Under-21 international, there has been no sign of ‘second-season syndrome’ this time around with McNeil continuing to torment even the best defenders and deliver a regular supply line for the Clarets’ frontmen with his cultured left foot.
The wideman has again played a key part in a claret and blue revival with Sean Dyche’s side flying high with three wins and a draw from their last four games lifting them into mid-table.
And Bournemouth are now back in McNeil’s sights with the youngster intent on extending a run that could see the Clarets sitting in eighth place in the table by Saturday night and as much as 13 points away from the relegation places.
“It’s a different picture in the league. Ten points from 12 has been unbelievable, especially with the teams we’ve played in the last four,” he added.
“Going into those games we had nothing to lose and I think we got back to doing the basics well, which we are good at.
“I think we’ve done really well, performed really well, and got the results we’ve deserved.
“Everyone has played their part and we’re going into the game on Saturday looking to maintain that unbeaten run, maintain the performance and hopefully get the three points.
“That’s the main aim. Hopefully we’ll get the results we need to stay in the Premier League and you never know what can happen after that.”