Clarets defender impresses in front of England boss

Clarets defender Ben Mee following Southampton's equaliser at Turf Moor
Clarets defender Ben Mee following Southampton's equaliser at Turf Moor

Clarets centre back Ben Mee is hoping to be one of the few "outsiders" that spring a surprise when England boss Gareth Southgate names his next squad ahead of the World Cup.

The Three Lions coach, who was once again stationed in the Bob Lord Stand at Turf Moor as the Clarets were held to a point against Southampton, will soon announce his group for friendlies against Netherlands and Italy next month.

The 28-year-old defender, backed to make the grade and follow in the footsteps of team mates Tom Heaton and Jack Cork, couldn't have done any more to impress the nation's head honcho when claiming his first man of the match accolade of the campaign in the stalemate against the Saints.

Mee, now closing in on his 250th appearance for the club, believes all the talk of a first international call up is demonstrative of his growth in the game.

“Someone mentioned it before the game," he said. "You've just got to play your games and see what happens.

“He’s come to see the game and there were a few home-grown lads on show. I don’t know what his thoughts are, but we will see what happens.

“You never know what his thoughts are. It’s nice to get man of the match. You just concentrate on your own game and don’t worry about anything else. I just want to play well for my club and what will be will be.

"If you get in the squad and impress, the manager may take a few outsiders. You never know what will happen. We’ll have to wait and see.

“To be getting mentioned is all positive. It’s fantastic. Obviously you have ambitions and want to get in the squad.

"You guys are mentioning it and other people are too. That shows i’m moving forward and the other lads are too, which is great for the club.”

Skipper Heaton became the first Burnley player since Martin Dobson in 1974 to earn a senior England cap when making his bow against Australia at the Stadium of Light in May 2016 while Cork became the 27th Claret to play for the senior England side when he replaced West Brom’s Jake Livermore against Germany at Wembley in November.

And Mee feels that goalkeeper Nick Pope could also have played himself in to contention for international selection.

After producing an outstanding save to turn a Josh Sims attempt on to the post at the weekend, the former Manchester City man said: “Yeah, he made a fantastic save, great save. I said that to him. Not many goalkeepers would have managed to get to that and he’s managed to touch it onto the post.

“It shows how good a shot stopper he is. I thought his kicking was also good today and he looks more comfortable every time he plays with the ball at his feet. He's working on his game well.

“It’s up for grabs. Heats is back training with us and he’s going to want to get back in the team. He wants to go to the World Cup too and that’s the healthy competition you need in a squad.

"Now Popey has got to step up and play even better. He's stepping up to the plate. It's good competition."