Eyebrows were raised this week when Dwight McNeil was left out of the England U21 squad. 

Aidy Boothroyd's squad will face Kosovo and Austria during the international period, however many believe that McNeil should have been included for this round of fixtures. 

The decision has come just a day after James Tarkowski was left out of the England Squad. 

  • The Evidence

McNeil as made 60 Premier League appearances in his career, scoring five and assisting 11. Callum Hudson-Odoi has made 34 appearances, scoring one and assisting six, Bukayo Saka has made 27, scoring one and assisting five, yet both of these players were picked over Burnley's McNeil. 

The 20-year-old averages 24.72 passes a match and has completed 374 crosses in his Premier League career. On the international stage he has three U21 appearances and six U20 appearances, where he grabbed one goal. 

For Burnley the size of his impact is unquestioned, he has made the left side of Burnley's midfield his own and is a key figure in the attack for the Clarets. His superb crossing ability gives strikers like Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes the service they need in order to score.

  •  The Cut

The issue for McNeil is the way Burnley play, it's defensive and well structured, now although that doesn't sound bad, it's not the style Boothroyd and England like to play.

England have been known to play a more attractive style under Gareth Southgate and that has filtered down to the youth levels, meaning players like McNeil, who don't particularly suit the style, are being left out, even if on form they deserve to be put in.

Unfortunately, McNeil seems to be very one-dimensional as he is only able to play as a left-midfielder whilst Saka can play as winger or full-back whilst Hudson-Odoi could play anywhere across the front. There is also a similar styled player in Todd Cantwell to choose from. 

However, Southgate's mantra has been to pick people on form not reputation, if this is the case then it makes the decision even more shocking. It leads to more fans believing that players from top clubs are more favoured because of the clubs status.  

The decision has left many confused and angry, with McNeil seemingly having to do even more to prove himself to the England staff. 

About the author