Everton signed Dwight McNeil for £20 million (€22.5 million) from Burnley in the summer transfer window. The Englishman was signed in order to replace Richarlison and provide width on the flanks. His start to life at Goodison Park was underwhelming until Sean Dyche came on board.
Replacing Richarlison was going to be one of the toughest tasks for the Toffees. When McNeil was signed, Everton knew that they were adding quality to the flanks. McNeil has that lethal left foot which is capable of launching rockets and scoring wonder goals.
He has a high work rate, so defensive contributions from the attack are almost guaranteed when he’s around. At Burnley, he was a competent crosser of the ball and given the towering presence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front, Everton would be able to provide service to Calvert-Lewin through McNeil.
Everton winger Dwight McNeil reborn under Sean Dyche
All in all, the winger was seen as an exciting package. However, the first few months have been a downhill journey for the Englishman. Under Frank Lampard, the 23 year old played 21 games this season, scoring twice and assisting just one more goal. McNeil was being labeled as a transfer failure as he was nowhere close to producing the desired level of performance. The Englishman did not offer any goal threat and was not able to impact the Toffees attack positively.
Then came Dyche as Lampard was sacked. If there was one man who could revive McNeil at Everton, it was Dyche. The 51 year old manager was able to get the best out of McNeil at Burnley and turned him into a fearful attacker, thanks to his ruthless work ethic and dangerous delivery.
Under Dyche, McNeil seems to be reborn and the complete opposite version of the player he was under Lampard. The 23 year old is no longer lacking confidence, he’s oozing confidence, delivering top notch performances and getting into the groove that actually earned him a £20 million move to Goodison Park.
He scored an outstanding goal against Brentford that eventually proved to be the winning goal as the Toffees sealed all three points and after the game, McNeil spoke to the club’s official website, revealing the honest conversation he had with Dyche when the new boss took over the reins.
"When Dyche came back in, we had a conversation about how I was playing. He knew what type of player I am and the person I am off the pitch, as well, which is massive. We had a conversation about how to get me playing back to how I used to be.I am enjoying it. Now we have to focus on the rest of the season because it is tight at the bottom. We have massive games coming up and the international break, but we will take it one game at a time. (via club’s official website)"
Will Dwight McNeil play an important role in EFC’s survival battle?