Michael Keane has spoken of his determination to ensure Everton’s turnaround in form continues – and make his “World Cup dream come true”.
The centre-back was part of the Blues team which got back to winning ways on Sunday with a thrilling 3-2 Premier League victory over Watford.
Coming from two goals down at Goodison, the Toffees netted three times in 24 minutes – including an injury-time penalty from Leighton Baines – to move up to 15th in the table, four points off eighth place.
Keane is currently on international duty with England ahead of friendlies at Wembley against Germany on Friday and Brazil four days later.
The 24-year-old helped the Three Lions qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, earning two of his four caps to date in last month’s qualifying wins over Slovenia and Lithuania. And the defender says he is focused on performing for his club in the hope that also reaps the rewards next summer.
“It’s always an honour to play for your country,” said Keane, who joined Everton from Burnley in July. “It is a massive occasion for me. To come on at Wembley recently and then play in Lithuania, they were two good games, not the best performances if you’re looking from a fan perspective, but we got the results, did what was needed to be done and we’re at the World Cup and that’s the main thing.
“All the lads are delighted and so excited and can’t wait to get there. We’ve got two big friendlies now which will be a real test for us. I’m looking forward to those games.
“It would be a dream come true to go to a World Cup with England and is something I’ve always dreamt of. I know it’s a long way off yet and there’s a lot of competition at centre-back so I’ve just got to keep playing well for Everton.
“Hopefully we can turn our form around now and that will give me a better chance. I’ve just got to keep myself in the mind of Gareth Southgate and we’ll see what happens.”
The dramatic come-from-behind win against the Hornets saw Goodison at its blaring best, a factor Keane pinpointed as crucial in helping spur on the Blues.
But, having had to battle their way back from a two-goal deficit, the defender acknowledges Everton need to start making games easier for themselves at both ends of the pitch.
“It’s vital in football that you keep clean sheets and we’ve got away from that lately,” he added. “We’ve conceded a lot of first goals which is massive in football and gives the other team confidence so we know it’s important to be solid and start getting those first goals ourselves.
“It makes a huge difference when the fans are behind you – how positive you are when you’re on the ball. It can also make a difference to how the opposition play. If the fans become really loud, it is a difficult atmosphere to play against.”