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Exclusive: Burnley hero Blake can see McNeil leaving amid Man City interest

Burnley hero Robbie Blake can see Dwight McNeil being tempted away this summer for a bigger club.

The Clarets winger has enjoyed a superb past two seasons at Turf Moor, having come through the Burnley academy system after being snapped up following his release by Manchester United six years ago.

McNeil's form has led to him being capped at U21 level by England and brought him to the attention of the country's biggest clubs. Indeed, it's emerged that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has identified McNeil as a potential replacement for Leroy Sane. Germany international Sane has agreed to join Bayern Munich next season, with the transfer confirmed a fortnight ago.

Sane's decision has led Guardiola to seeking a replacement and that McNeil is on his radar isn't a surprise to Blake.

Blake, current assistant manager at Bognor Regis, played 266 games for the Clarets, scoring 62 goals and admits he's a fan of McNeil.

He told "Inevitably when a young player comes through and he's playing for a team like Burnley and getting rave reviews, it's no disrespect to Burnley but a player of his quality – he's going to get recognition and that happens.

"But Burnley is a football club that's not silly, and they know if a bigger team comes in for a player of that quality a deal will have to be done. I think he's a very talented player and he's doing great as a firm favourite in the team, so he's going to attract attention. That's just the way the world is and how clubs are."

Should McNeil depart this summer, Blake is confident the Clarets support would understand.

He added: "I'm sure the Burnley supporters would understand that if a top class team comes in and the money's right, they won't stand in his way. I think he's ready now to go on and sign for a bigger club."

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Paul Vegas

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