Michael Keane admits the faith placed in him by Clarets boss Sean Dyche played a big part in him winning his first senior England cap.
Keane became the first Burnley player to start for the Three Lions since Martin Dobson in June 1974, as he starred in the 1-0 defeat to World champions Germany at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund on Wednesday night.
He was the first outfield player from the club to be capped since Dobson also, on the back of skipper Tom Heaton’s two appearances since May last year.
Keane completed the 90 minutes on the right of a back three, and Keane, who had to leave Manchester United to further his career, said: “I always thought, personally, that I was going to make it at United. A few changes in managers didn’t help, so when I left, I felt like I had a point to prove.
“If anything it made me work that bit harder. I’m thankful to Sean Dyche at Burnley for the work he’s done with me and the faith he’s put in me – that’s what has got me to where I am today.”
Keane made 16 appearances for the Under 21s, but after being on the bench for four games in the previous two squads, this was his first senior action for England: “It’s a dream come true on a personal level.
“I’ve been striving to get here for the last year or two, having come through the Under 21s. So to finally do it, on a stage like this against the world champions is a dream come true for me personally,” he said.
“Obviously it’s a shame about the result in the end, but I thought the lads played really well, created some good chances and on another day we would have won the game quite comfortably.
“There were a few nerves - I had the butterflies – but nothing you wouldn’t expect really. I think it helped me playing alongside experienced players. They were talking me through the game and I made some good passes early doors, so that gave me some confidence to build on.”
Inevitably, there were questions about what the future holds at club level, with Keane likely to attract interest from a host of clubs in the summer, having been linked with Chelsea, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool and former club United, but he said: “It’s flattering to see, but I’m focused on Burnley.”
“We’ve got nine games left in the season and we need to make sure we remain in the league.
“But to see things like that can only mean you’re playing well.”
Keane will now look to make his competitive debut for England on Sunday, with Lithuania the visitors to Wembley for a Group F World Cup qualifier, with kick-off at 5 p.m.