Will Keane has confidence ahead of Elite Round and welcomes twin brother to the squad.
By Nicholas Veevers
UEFA European U19 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round
25-30 May 2012
England, Montenegro, Slovenia, Switzerland
Deepdale, Preston & Spotland, Rochdale
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England U19s forward Will Keane is hoping to help the Young Lions to European glory this summer, as the squad begin preparations for this week's Elite Qualifying Round games in Lancashire.
The Manchester United ace, joined by his twin brother and club-mate Michael in an England squad for the first time, has already experienced Elite Round progress once in his short career after being part of the U17s group in 2010 who went on to lift the European Championship.
With many of the players from that squad involved again in Noel Blake's U19 set-up, Keane says that confidence is high in the camp as the group prepare for Friday's opening match with Slovenia at Deepdale.
“At this age group, we’ve always done very well and been a successful team, so we’re going into the tournament with the confidence and belief that we can come through it and win,” said the 19-year-old.
“A lot of the team have experienced this stage of the competition before so it will stand us in good stead right the way through the competition.
“We all know each other really well too, so we get along together as a group and we’ll stick together and we know what to expect."
Stockport-born Will is also joined by another familiar face in the squad in the shape of Michael, who has finally been able to link-up with the England squad after the paperwork was completed allowing him to switch allegiances from Republic of Ireland, who he had represented at both U17 and U19 level previously.
“It will be a great occasion for all of the family, especially with my brother being in the squad for the first time too,” said Will, who has played for England at U16, U17, U19 and Under-21 level.
“It’s always been something that he’s wanted to do. The process has been ongoing for the last six months or so and there’s been quite a lot of paperwork to go through on both sides.
“Once he knew that England were interested, that was always his first choice but he’d never been picked previously so he would rather have played international football for Ireland than not at all.
“He’s really looking forward to it now."