Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

Please pick Mee for England duty, urges Burnley defender Ben

Ben Mee has impressed with his performances for Burnley
Ben Mee has impressed with his performances for Burnley

Ben Mee has set his sights on emulating Burnley team-mate Michael Keane and winning an England call-up.

The central defensive pair have been in fine form this season, particularly at Turf Moor where the Clarets have conceded just 14 times in 16 Premier League games.

Keane has attracted the lion's share of the spotlight, earning his first two international caps against Germany and Lithuania last month, but Mee has been an equally important figure at the back.

Speaking after shutting out Stoke in a 1-0 win on Tuesday, the former Manchester City trainee set his sights on joining his partner in the Three Lions set-up.

"It's an ambition of mine to play for England and I'd like to think I can follow Michael's lead," he told Press Association Sport.

"I just want to play well and help keep the team in the Premier League but it is certainly a goal of mine and keeping clean sheets in this division is the best way to do that.

"You'd like to think that you'd be given a chance if you're playing well in the Premier League, no matter what team you're with, so if it happens, it happens.

"For now I'm concentrating on doing well with Burnley."

Keane was the Clarets' first outfield England international in 43 years when he took to the field in Dortmund, while goalkeeper Tom Heaton has two caps to his name.

Their recognition is evidence of Burnley's impressive return to top-flight football, with victory over the Potters taking them to 35 points for the season.

That is two more than they managed when they were relegated in 2014-15, and now they have seven games still to play.

"We like to think we're in a healthy position and we've set ourselves up really well to go into the final few games," said Mee.

"We've got a few games coming up at home so we're confident of picking up points. But it's such a tight league down there at the bottom, we maybe need another win and one or two draws but we want to keep going and be mathematically safe."

Stoke probably should have taken something from their trip but were undone by poor finishing, notably from Marko Arnautovic.

They have now drawn a blank in three of the last four matches and need to find a cutting edge to keep their hopes of a top-half finish alive.

Defender Marc Muniesa said: "We knew it would be difficult to come here because they are a really physical team. They dominated in the first few minutes, then we've had some chances through Marko but it wasn't our day.

"We need to better in the final third. We have quality players and need to finish the chances we create.

"It's a bad night for us because it's three points we've lost out on but we now need to focus on our remaining games."

Press Association

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