Lowton inspired by England calls for teammates
Clarets defender Matt Lowton feels he is in the form of his career.
And, inspired by Tom Heaton and Michael Keane, he has aspirations of getting an England call.
The 27-year-old signed a new contract this week, extended to the summer of 2020 - just reward for a Premier League ever-present this season.
He has achieved a level of consistency, and Lowton, asked if he is in the best form of his life, admitted: "I think so. "That’s down to the group of lads we’ve got here.
"At times before you could feel isolated going into one-v-one situations, here if you get beat then someone is going to try their hardest to get you out of jail, which you’re going to do for them as well.
"Over a season it pays you back to help each other out."
That organisation comes down to the manager, who Lowton revealed is "very meticulous, down to the little last detail. "It’s where the ball is and where people need to be.
"He’s got a few things he shows us after game and even after we win he’s still on the details of doing things better.
"It’s all about improving and moving forward."
Improving and moving forward personally would mean challenging himself to get into the national set up, something Lowton admits he dreams of: "You have to, yeah. I’ve always dreamed of playing for my country, which I think every footballer does.
"You can only play well week in, week out, and hopefully the right people are watching."
Heaton and Keane have shown players from relatively unfashionable clubs are being noticed and Lowton uses their success as motivation: "It just shows that the right people are watching the games.
"You need to get the call-ups, it’s important that we just do what we can for the club every week, and obviously if you’re doing well, word starts to spread and people get called up.
"Keano and Tom have done great when they’ve gone there. It only stands all the other players in good stead."
The former Aston Villa man believes teammate Ben Mee's form warrants closer inspection as well: "With Ben I think he’s been very unlucky not to be called up yet. Him and Keano have probably been our best players this season.
"For Keano to get called up should give Ben the confidence to keep going and keep playing well, which is all he can do."
Lowton had no qualms whatsoever about signing a new contract, and feels the club is heading in the right direction on and off the pitch: "I’m delighted. Definitely. Ever since I came here, I’ve loved every minute. The work ethic, the group of lads that they’ve got here, it’s just a joy to come in every day. So to sign for another three years, I’m over the moon.
"Everyone can see from the outside which way the club’s going at the minute. We’re trying to stay in the division first of all, but as you see from the league table, a win takes us up into the top half, so it’s definitely going in the right direction with the new facilities and players starting to get England call-ups as well. It’s going in the right direction."
A win at Middlesbrough would go a long way to securing their Premier League status, and hurting Boro's survival hopes: "A win on Tuesday was huge for us, so we’ve all got confidence going into that game on Saturday, and we hope we can get the first away win of the season. The recent performances away deserved a little bit more than we got, so we hope this is the game.
"I think psychologically, a win would be massive. Obviously, it’s not mathematically certain, but psychologically, it would be a massive swing between the two teams, because we get three points, and they’re in a bit of rut without a win recently. So it would be massive for us, and depending on other results, we could be 10 points clear at the weekend. It’s a huge game for us."
And a top half finish is achievable: "Yeah, we’re closer to ninth than the bottom three. We’ve given ourselves a great platform to take towards the end of the season. The ultimate goal at the start of the season was to stay in the league, but the way we started, we started looking up quite soon, and to be in with a shout of ninth place with six games to go just shows the way’s club gone.
"It would be fantastic for everyone, the club as a whole, the fans and for us to come into the division, we got written off by a lot of people before the start of the season but we knew in house that we had a great chance of ultimately staying in the league and hopefully pushing on. Finishing ninth would send a message to everyone that we’re here to stay hopefully for the foreseeable future."