SEAN Dyche already considers Dwight McNeil a “terrific player” but believes he could be even better with improved body language. Smiles better, in fact.

The 20-year-old is just one game away from a half century of Premier League appearances, having burst onto the first team scene when Burnley kicked off last season in the Europa League.

But Clarets boss Dyche believes it is only now that the youth team graduate is starting to settle into his senior role, and is ready to build on the foundations he has laid as his confidence grows.

“If he carries on working like he is, carries on smiling, gets his shoulders back a bit more and his body language - because sometimes he tucks inside himself a bit - for me he can be a top player,” said the Burnley manager of McNeil, who made one and scored one in Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Bournemouth.

His assist, in particular, was significant as, at 20 years and 92 days, it made him the youngest player to reach 10 Premier League assists behind then Liverpool star Raheem Sterling, aged 19 years and 335 days in November 2014.

“It was a funny game for Dwighty, he was a bit quiet first half, but the whole team was, and it’s hard to operate if you’re not linking with other players,” noted Dyche.

“Second half he was terrific, but he’s a terrific player, I’ve said that for months and months now.

“He continues to develop and enjoy it.

“I warned him again he wasn’t smiling enough - brilliant bit of coaching to say ‘smile more’. I don’t know where that lives in the tactical and technical plan, but it seemed to work.

“I enjoy his performances, and so does he.”

But Dyche warned McNeil must at least maintain a strong work ethic to ensure his talent continues to come to the fore.

“To be a top, top player you need to be consistent with your performances at the top level all of the time,” said the Clarets chief, adding: “He is doing a pretty good job of that. He’s nearly 50 games in and more or less 50 on the trot, so he has knocked out a lot of Premier League football for a lad who has just turned 20.

“He is a very talented player for me.”