Former United trainee Dwight McNeil sets good standard for Tahith Chong

Burnley winger Dwight McNeil has been speaking about his departure from Manchester United as a young player.

The teenager is in the England Under 21 setup, having impressed under Sean Dyche at Turf Moor.

Perhaps with hindsight United may have made a mistake in letting him go?

What has McNeil said?

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Speaking to the Sun, McNeil, now 19, said of his release by United five years ago, said: “I was released by United when I was 14. Funnily enough, one of the reasons I got released was because my set- pieces weren’t the best.


“It was quite an upsetting time for me. I was still at school as well, I was still learning. I’m a Man United fan, despite what happened. I’ll always be a Man United fan. I just wasn’t up to their standards.”

Did United make a mistake letting him leave?

Burnley may not be the most obvious destination in the Premier League for a young player to come through the ranks, but McNeil has done exactly that.

Sean Dyche’s demands on his players mean that for McNeil to be getting into the side ahead of older heads, his attitude is right, his work-rate is high and he’s adding to the team.

Perhaps if he was playing for a more fashionable club, McNeil would be generating more excitement.

He packs a mean delivery from that left hand side and under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he would likely have got a chance to shine at United.

McNeil sets the standard for Chong

Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

After McNeil was let go, Tatith Chong joined United in 2016 (MEN) as United continued their approach of poaching from the top academies around Europe.

There’s a debate to be had over that strategy when it forces players who have come through the ranks at the club out the door but that’s for a different day.

McNeil and Chong are both wingers who are 19 but it’s the Englishman who has had greater first team exposure.

In truth, McNeil is setting the standard that the Dutchman needs to get to in order to be a Premier League regular.

It’s too early to judge United’s decision but there’s no doubts that there are high hopes for Chong around the club.

He could do worse than following the lead of self-proclaimed Red McNeil in getting his head down, working hard for the team and then letting his talent shine.

McNeil is achieving at the same age what Chong wants to. He is a Premier League regular. He has two assists this season, and last year managed five, plus three goals.

No doubt its harder to get in United’s side regularly than Burnley’s, but the Dutchman has a great chance right now to kick on.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.