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England was my country - Debutant Keane explains Ireland switch

14   //    25 Mar 2017, 01:48 IST
MichaelKeane - cropped
England defender Michael Keane in training

Debutant defender Michael Keane insists he always wanted to play for England, despite initially turning out for the Republic of Ireland at youth level.

Keane's fine form for Burnley this season earned a call up to make his international bow against Germany on Wednesday, having impressed for England Under-21s under now senior manager Gareth Southgate.

And while Keane had previously played for Ireland's youth sides, qualifying through his father, the 24-year-old is adamant he would always have chosen England - had he been good enough.

"I always wanted to play for England, but when I was younger I was not at the level required so I thought it best to go and get some experience at international level," he said after the 1-0 defeat in Germany. "That is what I did.

"When I got a call saying they wanted me, I did not think twice. I was thankful to Ireland to play, but England was my country. There was never any doubt.

"My dad was born in Ireland but moved to England when he was nine, he's over the moon."

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