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English Premier League

Michael Keane replaces injured Glen Johnson in England squad for World Cup qualifiers

The Three Lions face Malta and Slovenia under new caretaker manager Gareth Southgate

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2016, 5:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2016, 5:14pm

Burnley defender Michael Keane has been given his first England call-up for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia after Glen Johnson withdrew through injury, the Football Association said on Tuesday.

Keane, who has featured in all seven Premier League games for the promoted club this season, has made 16 appearances for England’s under-21 side under new caretaker manager Gareth Southgate.

“Michael Keane has been handed his first international call-up after Glen Johnson withdrew from the England squad through injury,” the Football Association said in a statement.

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling was earlier forced to withdraw with an injury and was replaced by Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend.

Keane last week said a national call-up would be the pinnacle of his career.

“Now I’m in the Premier League I think England has got to be my aim. I want to play at the top level of English football and playing for England is the pinnacle of that,” the 23-year-old said.

England host Malta at Wembley Stadium on Saturday before travelling to take on Slovenia three days later.

England pipped Slovakia 1-0 in their opening Group F game last month. The group also includes Scotland and Lithuania.