Michael Keane is ‘honoured’ to be named among the country’s top young players and thanked his team-mates for earning a Professional Footballers’ Association Award nomination.
Keane has been short-listed for the PFA’s Young Player of the Year Award with the winner to be announced at the association’s 44th annual dinner in London on 23 April.
He faces top-notch competition for the prize from 2016 winner Dele Alli, Alli’s Tottenham and England team-mate Harry Kane, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Manchester City winger Leroy Sane and Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
But just making the short-list – voted for by his fellow professionals across the game – represents another impressive achievement for Keane on the back of an outstanding Premier League season with the Clarets.
The Burnley defender, 24, said: “It’s good to be recognised by other players and to have their respect is a great thing.
“It’s been a magnificent team effort from us this year but to get recognised individually as well is always nice.
“It’s some really good company, so it just shows that things must be going well.
“I’m very happy to be in it and honoured, but the bigger picture is I couldn’t have done it without my team-mates and how the team has performed, so it’s all down to them.”
Following his recent senior England debut, Keane’s nomination by the PFA is further proof of his continued development as a proven Premier League performer.
But he stressed that maintaining that tag for Burnley remains his number-one goal.
“That was the main thing at the start of the season,” Keane said.
“We are close to it now. We can almost see the finishing line but we need to make sure we don’t take our foot off the gas.
“We need to finish strongly and make sure we achieve our Premier League status for next year.
“I’ve achieved a few things I wanted to do this year and it’s gone really well for me but if we fail to stay in the league then it won’t be worth anything, so hopefully we manage to do that sooner rather than later.”
The 12th-placed Clarets can take a further step towards their target with a positive result at Everton on Saturday, when Keane is set to go up against fellow award nominee Romelu Lukaku – who is also in the running for the senior players’ award.
“They gave us a tough game at our place where we got a late winner. It was a big day for us,” Keane added.
“I’m looking forward to playing at Goodison. I’ve never played there in a professional game. I’m looking forward to going to a different stadium and once again try to get our first away win.
“We are desperate to do it and, fingers crossed, it can happen.”