Sunderland midfielder Dan Neil insists he “wasn’t really interested” in reports linking him with Burnley and Premier League side Aston Villa during the January transfer window, speaking to The Chronicle.
Compared to Paul Gascoigne by some, Eberechi Eze by others, the silky Sunderland starlet will get the chance to show off his marvelous technique and ability to split the defense on a much bigger stage next season.
Neil, born and bred in Whitley Bay, played a key role in the club’s promotion to the Championship in 2021/22. And if the England Under-20 international can build on an impressive season at a senior level, it won’t be long before the rumor mill comes alive again.
The Sun has already named Aston Villa and Burnley as two suitors; Both clubs have reportedly expressed interest in the run-up to the January window.
Dan Neil has a great future at Sunderland
“When I came full time at 16, we were in Ligue 1 at the time,” explains Neil. “And I was determined to get into the first team because I wanted to be part of the team that promoted us.
“So when there were rumours, I wasn’t really interested. Because my only goal was to personally do whatever I can to help the team move this club forward. Now the goal is to do our best in the championship and see where it takes us.
Neil, who is able to slip through thirds while picking the tightest locks, has drawn comparisons to Crystal Palace ace Eze (Telegraph). Former Black Cats boss Lee Johnson meanwhile described the 20-year-old as a “young Paul Gascoigne”.
No wonder Villa boss Steven Gerrard is keeping a close eye on Neil’s development. But it would take something special for Neil to turn his back on the club of his childhood.
“It’s been a rollercoaster season,” the youngster adds. “I feel like it went from zero to a hundred.
“I took a lot out of it and a lot of things that I need to improve. It was an enriching experience. And I hope it put me in a better position for this year. I can use the experiences and improve compared to last year.
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