Keane's focus is on the Clarets

Michael Keane says that his focus is on Burnley, not his World Cup dream, after making his England bow.

Friday, 31st March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:19 pm
England's Michael Keane and Lithuania's Nerijus Valskis battle for the ball during the World Cup Qualifying match at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 26, 2017. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/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.

The 24-year-old made his Three Lions debut against Germany last Wednesday, before playing in his first competitive fixture against Lithuania, in the World Cup qualifying win on Sunday.

But he has put his international ambitions, and hopes of making the plane to Russia next summer, on hold.

Gareth Southgate’s side play again in June, at Hampden Park against Scotland in another World Cup qualifier, before a friendly against France at Stade de France during the domestic break, but the defender only has nine games on his mind at present.

“That’s obviously where I want to be,” he said. “I don’t think I can look too far ahead though, so all I want to focus on for now is playing well for Burnley.

“I’ve done well and got my foot in the door a little bit, but that only counts for something if I keep playing well.

“I’ve got to keep showing the gaffer here and the manager of England that I can do it well regularly and consistently.

“I need to do that by playing well for my club week in, week out.

“I’m just fully focused now on Burnley until the end of the season and we’ll see what happens from there.”

Keane added: “Survival has been the aim all season; we want to get that secured as soon as possible and kick on.

“The first thing in our head is survival, but we think that we’ve got enough to do more than that.

“We want to finish up as high as possible and pick up a win soon to see where it takes us.

“I always thought it was going to be tough to top last year, but I think if we manage to stay up, and the way things have gone with me for Burnley, this will do it.

“Hopefully we can, hopefully we can do it soon with a few wins.

“We’ve got a few home games coming up and I can’t wait to be back at Turf Moor playing.

“It’s been a long time, hopefully we can get our safety confirmed.”

Ralph Coates was the last Burnley player to feature in a competitive England fixture in 1971 when replacing Alan Ball in a 3-0 win over Greece in a European Championship qualifier.

However, Keane became the first Claret to represent the nation in a World Cup qualifier in more than 55 years, when John Connelly and Ray Pointer both netted in a 2-0 triumph over Portugal at the old Wembley Stadium, ahead of the 1962 tournament in Chile.

Such recognition is bound to spark interest from elsewhere, something which the former Old Trafford youngster fully appreciates.

“It’s inevitable really, these things happen, but I’ve dealt with it all throughout the season and I won’t let it affect me,” he said.

“I’m fully focused on Burnley.

“We’ve got some big games coming up and we need to make sure we stay in the Premier League, so it won’t affect me at all.”