Injury means boost for Keane
Michael Keane’s England debut has certainly been a talking point this week. It certainly changed my plans for Wednesday night. I’d have usually cast an eye over the England game, nothing more, but Keane’s inclusion meant me watching the game from start to finish, so proud to see a Burnley player once more wearing the three lions throughout a full international.
The game counted for nothing in that it was not a competitive fixture but a friendly against Germany is never really a friendly and it was very disappointing to lose the game having been, for the most part, the better side. I have to say it was as enjoyable an England performance as I’ve seen for some time.
England do go into competitive action this Sunday with a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley. Although Gary Cahill is suspended, with John Stones likely to come in, I wasn’t sure whether Gareth Southgate would retain Keane despite his outstanding debut. He will, I thought, if he continues with a back three, but if he reverts to a back four then I think it is likely to be Chris Smalling partnering Stones in the centre of defence.
That was until today when news filtered out that Smalling has returned to United after picking up an injury with Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson brought into the squad as his replacement. I would think that will surely make Keane’s inclusion far more likely, in fact I’d now be very surprised if he wasn’t striding out ahead of the game for his second cap.
This time it will be for real as a qualifying game for a major tournament and I wondered when a Burnley player last played for England in such a game with Martin Dobson’s first four caps, prior to him signing for Everton, all coming in friendlies.
The answer is Ralph Coates but that was as a substitute against Greece at Wembley in April 1971, a European Championships qualifier that England won 3-0.
We have to go back almost another decade to find a Burnley player in an England World Cup game, right back to October 1961 when both John Connelly and Ray Pointer were in the England team. Both scored in the 2-0 win that confirmed our place in the 1962 finals in Chile. They played in a team that included such as Bobby Robson, Jimmy Armfield and Ron Flowers along with Bobby Charlton and Ray Wilson who were in the England team over four years later when we won the World Cup.
Hopefully I will have reason to be glued to my television again this Sunday.Follow UpTheClarets:
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