Keane Eyeing International Future With Ireland
Thursday, 31st Jan 2019 18:15
Town newcomer Will Keane is eyeing an international future with Ireland and has already had a chat with ex-Blues boss Mick McCarthy, who is now back in charge of the Republic for the second time in his management career.
Keane, who is on loan from Hull through to the end of the season, said: “I’ve been in talks in recent weeks, since I’ve been down here, and they’re obviously aware of my Irish connections [his father is Irish].
“That’s in the process of being sorted and if I can make myself available to them – and do well here – it would be great to be selected.
“But first and foremost, I’m concentrating on my form here and hopefully the other stuff will take care of itself.
“I had a conversation with Mick a couple of weeks ago and he was saying he would like me to declare my interest in representing Ireland.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for the last couple of years, really, but I had a setback with injury.
“However, it’s good to hear that I’m on their radar and I told him I was only too happy to do that, so now it’s about playing well enough to get in amongst it.”
Keane’s twin brother, Everton defender Michael, has already won five senior England caps but Will added: “He actually represented Ireland at youth level so he’s had experience of it and enjoyed it.
“He ended up going the other way and playing for England, but my dad’s from the Republic and I would regard it as a great honour for me and my family to play for them.
“When we were kids I was always the striker. He played in midfield a little bit when we were younger and then slowly dropped back into the defence. He was always the one with the assists and I was the glory hunter!”
The pair were together at first club Manchester United before going their separate ways and Will admits his time at Old Trafford gave him an ideal grounding, not only in football but as a person.
“I think for any young boy coming through the ranks it’s a great development and I don’t really think I could have wished for a better one,” he explained.
“Look at how many players United have produced over the years and to be a part of that I feel very grateful to them. It has stood me in good stead, being at a top club and having a glimpse of what it’s like, so I know what it is going to take to get back to that level again.”
Keane suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his time with United and added: “That obviously hindered my time there and it happened all over again when I joined Hull.
“They were bad injuries and it was a very frustrating time for me. However, it is just part and parcel of football – some lads experience it, some don’t – and I have to try to take it in my stride and still make as much as I can of my time in football.”
Asked about who had influenced him during the early stages of his career, he continued: “When I was a young lad and working day in, day out, with Warren Joyce [then co-manager of the United reserve team alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] I was progressing to be in and around the first team spot and he was a big influence.
“Paul McGuinness, one of my former coaches there, as well. I spent a lot of time with them and they helped me a lot along the way.
“They got me into the first team set-up so I will always be very grateful for their help.
“I really enjoyed the time I played under Ole as well, especially being a young striker, because he would put on special sessions for us and was also passing on some useful advice here and there.
“That was great for me and to spend time and listen to an idol like that was really good. It’s great to see him back at the club now and doing so well.
“I’m not surprised at how well he is doing because in my experience, as a reserve player back then, he was doing really well as a coach.
“Everybody sees the nice side of Ole but I know he’s also got that nasty streak, which he often showed on the pitch in his time as a United player.
“He’s also showing now that he’s more than capable tactically and he’s got a great reaction from the players. I’m just hoping they can continue it.”
The Keane brothers, who joined the Old Trafford academy when they were 11, went on to become members of United’s FA Youth Cup-winning side in 2011 when their team-mates included current first team stars Paul Pogba, a World Cup winner with France last year, and England’s Jesse Lingard.
Will said: “I still keep in touch with a couple of the players from that side and I see them when I’m out and about now and again.
“Apart from Paul and Jesse, there was my brother Michael and also Sam Johnstone, the keeper who’s now at West Brom. We were a tight group and it’s great to see so many of the lads going on and doing so well in their careers.”
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