Keane set for dream debut?

Clarets defender Michael Keane is praying that it'll be third time lucky in his pursuit of a dream England debut.

Tuesday, 21st March 2017, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:52 am
England's Michael Keane during the walkaround at Stadion Stozice, Ljubliana. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 10, 2016. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see for full restrictions and further information.

The 24-year-old centre back has been selected for each of coach Gareth Southgate’s international squads to date, initially stepping in for injured Stoke City full back Glen Johnson for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.

Keane, who has been an ever-present for Burnley in the Premier League this season, also watched on from the bench as the Three Lions thrashed Scotland and drew with Spain at Wembley.

Now, on his third successive call up, the former Manchester United man is hoping to get some game time in forthcoming fixtures against Germany and Lithuania.

Ahead of tomorrow’s friendly at Dortmund’s Signal-Iduna-Park, Keane said: “I can’t wait to meet up, train with the team and hopefully make my debut this time.

“We’ve got two big games coming up with Germany away at Dortmund. I can’t wait for that one especially.

“It’s going to be a special occasion and it’s great to be a part of it. If I can get on and make my debut, I’ll be over the moon.

“It’s been a dream of mine so we’ll just have to wait and see but firstly we’ll meet up, I’m excited, I’ll hopefully train well and see where that takes me.

“I’ve been desperate to do it all season. I’ve been away twice now so hopefully it’ll be third time lucky.

“It’s something I’ve dreamt of since I was a young boy so if I can do that then it’ll be a big milestone for me.”

England then face Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday looking to extend their unbeaten start in Group F.

“They are two fantastic games,” he said. “Obviously Germany is what it is, it’s away from home at Dortmund, it’s a special place to play but to do it at Wembley would be equally as special if not even more special. As long as I get on the pitch I will be delighted.

“I feel like I’ve been doing well, I feel like I’ve been defending well and I’ve been good on the ball as well.

“Hopefully the England set up has been watching that and they see me as being part of their plans.

“It’s just exciting. When I first went it was a bit surreal but you quickly get used to it. Playing for the under 21s gears you towards that so I felt comfortable around it. I’m just desperate to play now.”

Team mate Tom Heaton has also been drafted in to the 26-man squad alongside fellow goalkeepers Fraser Forster and Joe Hart.

Should Southgate hand both players the opportunity to play in the same XI they would become the first Clarets duo to do so in 56 years and only the sixth duo in the club’s history.

John Angus and Brian Miller both played alongside each other in a friendly against Austria in 1961 while Ray Pointer and John Connelly graced the same turf during exhibition matches against Wales and Portugal the same year.

Bob Kelly, who won 11 caps for his country during 1920 and 1925, partnered Jerry Dawson in a friendly against Scotland while Louis Page featured in international games with John Hill and George Waterfield.

“It would be brilliant,” said Keane. “Tom has been great, he’s been around the squad a lot and played a few times so he’s got that bit of experience ahead of me. If we could get on the pitch at the same time it would be great.”

Meanwhile, Keane was given a little taster of what to expect in training over the next week or so.

The defender was tasked with keeping Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe quiet for 90 minutes at the Stadium of Light.

Keane said: “He’s a great player with good movement and he’s still sharp. He’s one that you’ve always got to be aware of.

“It’s going to be good to meet the new lads that I haven’t met before and see what they are like in training. I’m sure there’s a lot that I can learn.”