Football / News

Lancashire clubs represented across the globe during international break

England are top of group F and are yet to lose a game in qualifying. Photo credit: Lewis Clarke.

During the international break, 12 players from four different Lancashire clubs took to the field to represent their countries.

Many were doing what they could to help their side qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while others played in friendlies from as far as Canada and Egypt.

It was the final international break before the end of the domestic season, with clubs being restored to their full complement of players for their final run of games.

The standout performer throughout the fortnight was undoubtedly Burnley’s Michael Keane, who made his England bow in a friendly against Germany before shutting out Lithuania in a qualifier four days later.

His accomplished performances could’ve been mistaken for those of a seasoned international rather than a debutant, as he looked at home in both a back three as well as partnering John Stones in the latter fixture.

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton was also involved in the England training camp but was not selected to play in either match, with England manager Gareth Southgate favouring Joe Hart.

Despite having five Lancashire based players in their squad, only two were fielded for the Republic of Ireland in their fierce encounter with Wales.

Jeff Hendrick (Burnley) played the full 90 minutes, while Preston North End’s Aiden McGeady came on as a late substitute to try and break the deadlock.

They were both playing against Clarets forward Sam Vokes of Wales, although the 0-0 standoff was somewhat overshadowed by a horrific injury suffered by Everton’s Seamus Coleman.

Wigan’s Shaun MacDonald took his place on the bench but was not called upon by Chris Coleman.

Players from Preston and Burnley then lost out to Iceland in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier, as Burnley’s Robbie Brady, McGeady and Hendrick all started in the 1-0 defeat with PNE’s Daryl Hogan and Andy Boyle coming off the bench.

Fleetwood’s Conor McLaughlin played the full match for Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland in a remarkable 2-0 win over a Norway side littered with Premier League names.

Corry Evans, who has been at Blackburn since 2013, had also received a call up but was not involved in the matchday squad.

Having been born in Scotland and represented them at youth level until 2010, Burnley’s Scott Arfield eventually settled on representing Canada through his father.

He played all but the dying embers of the game against the nation of his birth, as Fraser Aird’s goal was cancelled out by Steven Naismith to settle a 1-1 draw.

Elsewhere, Wigan’s Sam Morsy played in Egypt’s 3-0 win over Togo in an all-African affair, before being replaced in the 78th minute.

 

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