Everton defender Michael Keane has outlined that he “always dreamed of playing for England” despite first representing Ireland at underage level.
The 26-year old had featured for Ireland’s U17s and U19s but switched his international allegiance and has featured frequently for England’s U21s as well as five appearances for their senior team.
Keane was recently included in England’s squad for their upcoming European qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro alongside ex-Irish international Declan Rice.
Speaking about the West Ham man’s situation on BBC’s Radio 5 Live, Keane outlined that even when he was playing for Ireland at underage level, he always dreamed of representing England.
“When I was with Ireland, I wasn’t good enough to play for England at that time.”
“I was only young and small and still developing. I had in the back of my head that hopefully one day I could play for England.
“I know when I switched I felt really, really English. My Dad is Irish, but I don’t know any of his Irish family, so I’ve never really felt fully Irish. That was the reason behind my choice.”
Rice, who was the subject of an international tug of war between the two countries, has come under much scrutiny as of late following his move to represent Gareth Southgate’s side.
Keane outlined that having experienced a similar situation, albeit on a smaller scale, he feels that going “on your gut feeling” is the best advice he can give the West Ham midfielder.
“I can’t really give them too much advice; I think you have just got to go on your gut feeling. Obviously, you have to see how you’re performing week in week out and where you think you could end up in your career.”
The Everton defender’s comments may not go down too well with his brother Will, who has expressed his desire to play his international football with Ireland, having represented England at underage level.
Keane’s situation is also another example of a worrying trend for Irish football, with eligible players using the Boys in Green as a stepping stone to bigger and better things with England.