DWIGHT McNeil’s consistency has been his most impressive attribute according to Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

The Clarets host Everton at Turf Moor on Saturday with the 5-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season still fresh in the mind.

The 19-year-old came on in that game before starting the win over West Ham that followed, victory against the Hammers both the start of Burnley’s turnaround last season and McNeil’s rise to prominence.

He will be a key figure when the Toffees come to town this weekend with Dyche highlighting how unlike other young players, his rising star has proven he can produce performances week in, week out.

“I think over time it’s not surprising how well he’s done, it’s the consistency he’s done it with,” said Dyche.

“Young players coming into a side can have ups and downs, quiet periods. But he’s not really had that many quiet periods, he’s kept his consistency high.

“I don’t think I’ve been surprised because otherwise I would not have put him in, it’s more of a respect for the way he’s adjusted and been so calm about it and kept his performance levels up.

“Some young players have a flier and then it eases down a bit. He hasn’t really done that and he’s continued in the side by merit, by his performance levels. His adaptation levels to the Premier League have been excellent.

“Going away in the summer, you wonder what he will be like when he came back, but he’s been fit, he’s been active and alive. All good from that point of view.”

The exciting thing for Dyche and the Burnley fans is that with 34 first-team appearances under his belt and his 20th birthday not until the end of November, there is still so much more to come.

“He’s still maturing physically, he’s still maturing tactically and varying positions,” said the Clarets boss.

“I think the demands on him continue, but he’s handling it all very well. Off the pitch, he’s maturing as well.

“He’s a pretty steady lad. He enjoys his football, he doesn’t over think it and I think he’s got a healthy balance of knowing the demands of the team and the demands of the role but still having that smile on your face as Brian Clough used to say. He still looks like a kid in a sweet shop. 

“’I want to play, I want to be part of what’s going on’ and I think that’s a great position for a young player.”

For Dyche the coach, having a project like McNeil on his hands is an exciting prospect although the teenager hasn’t needed too much in terms of direction.

“To see players like Dwight continue to develop and absorb things, we haven’t over-coached him because when you’ve got a natural talent like that I always feel it’s best to let them develop and find their own way,” the Burnley manager said.

“Some players need coaching all the time to get them in the right positions, but he can naturally find his way around the football pitch, he’s got good pitch geography, very good for a young player, and his reading of the game is improving.”