Burnley defender Mee should be part of England debate – Dyche
Former Claret Michael Keane got the nod ahead of James Tarkowski - the man who replaced him at Turf Moor - for England’s opening Euro 2020 qualifiers in March.
But Burnley boss Sean Dyche feels Ben Mee should be part of any conversation going forward, when looking at the Three Lions’ central defensive options.
The Clarets will come up against record sale Keane tonight, as Burnley travel to Everton for their penultimate game of the season.
Keane started the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic at Wembley, and 5-1 win in Montenegro, where he equalised with his first England goal.
Tarkowski, who has two caps since making his debut in March 2017, was an unused substitute in both games.
Mee, who was capped at Under 21 level, has yet to earn a senior call-up, but former centre back Dyche feels he should be in the thinking.
Asked about the battle for an England place between Keane and Tarkowski, Dyche said: “Both good players, both different skill sets, different types of centre half, still do the basics well, and I think Keano has got back to doing the basics well, some of the simplicity he was working with was not there last season, but he’s got back to that, defending really well.
“They both do that well, and then they both have the different feel of how they play.
“I think they’re both really good players, and I’d add Ben Mee into that mix as well.
“He’s been tremendous, since Christmas he has been first class.
“It wasn’t that he wasn’t before this season, but I didn’t think he was where he was for the last six to eight games, minimum, but probably since the turn.
“He should at least be mentioned in dispatches when you’re talking about that kind of player.”
Dyche is keen to leave fellow managers alone to their own selection decisions, but, as England move towards a more accomplished ball-playing centre back under Gareth Southgate, he said: “Not my decision. It’s up to Gareth, he’ll decide that, - (Harry) Maguire, I’m a big fan of Cahill, Terry back in the day, but that new-looking centre half...I think they’ve all got a bit of that, they can all defend, they can all play, they have a ruggedness to them, and they want to do things correctly.
“The look, the brand, is an important thing now, Ben does the job, without doubt.
“Does he look quite as fluid? Does he play quite as fluid? That’s for debate, but if you analyse him, he just does the job.
“Reads it well, gets there early, good positionally, aggressive in the right way, heads it way beyond his size - there’s a lot to like.
“A top, top player, but we’ve got a lot like that, who I think don’t get the credit.
“People say I don’t get the credit, it doesn’t bother me, but it bothers me for them, he should get way more credit.”
However the England situation plays out, Dyche is delighted to see Keane performing back at his best after a tough first season at Goodison: “Keano got questioned last year, but he got in with a new group of players, a lot of new players, playing with a different feel around him.
“I said to him, ‘you keep working hard, you’re a top player’, and he’s proving that.
“And, again, now he’s linked again with other clubs, not that he wants to leave, but there’s links with other clubs.
“A top centre half, and he was last season, just learning in a different environment, different culture, with different players around him.
“Lots of noise, more expectation, if you notice this season, that expectation has quietened a little bit, and allowed people like him to come back to the fore.
“Everyone’s gone, ‘hang on, we spent all that money, but it doesn’t guarantee us anything’, so now the team’s moulded - they’ve spent money again, but there hasn’t been as much noise as last season, therefore he isn’t attracting that noise, and slowly but surely his performances have gone up and up.
“Top lad, and a top player.”