Wednesday 23 August 2017

Michael Keane tips Burnley team-mate Andre Gray for England call-up

Andre Gray has scored eight Premier League goals this season
Andre Gray has scored eight Premier League goals this season

Burnley defender Michael Keane believes his club colleague Andre Gray is "destined" for an England call-up at some point.

Gareth Southgate next week announces his first squad since being appointed on a permanent basis and could consider the case of 25-year-old Gray after a maiden Premier League campaign where he has scored eight top-flight goals.

The Three Lions' new boss has been spotted at Clarets matches recently and both Keane and goalkeeper Tom Heaton may remain in the international set-up when he reveals his squad for the Germany and Lithuania fixtures later this month.

However, Keane would not be surprised if Southgate's ranks include three Burnley players, with the centre-back offering a glowing reference for former non-league striker Gray.

"He's an unbelievable finisher," Keane said of Gray.

"He can score different types of goals and he's a nightmare to play against.

"He won't give you any rest at all and he's always in your face. It wouldn't surprise me if he got a call up, he's been doing really well and scoring goals so I don't see why not.

"He's up there with the (best) finishers (in England). There's world-class players in the England squad, the likes of Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney, who maybe have more of an all-round game and I'm sure Andre, like all of us, has things to work on but one day, if it's not soon, he will get in the England squad - he's destined for it."

A Burnley victory at Liverpool on Sunday, which would be their first on the travels, would certainly further the credentials of Heaton, Keane and Gray.

All three starred in the reverse fixture back in August when Sean Dyche's side recorded their first Premier League triumph of the campaign despite ceding 81 per cent possession to the Reds.

Burnley, currently 12th, have remained well clear of relegation trouble for most of the season and Keane believes their early success over Jurgen Klopp's side was a key milestone in the campaign.

"It was massive for us," he said.

"It was only the second game in the season and it gave us the confidence we belonged in the Premier League.

"Both our strikers (Gray and Sam Vokes) scored great goals and we kept a clean sheet.

"We came off the pitch really happy and it gave us the momentum and started our good run of home form. It's been good ever since so I think that was a big step for us."

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