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'No pressure' on Martin Keown's son after decision to declare for Ireland

The 19-year-old defender has opted to diverge from his father by declaring allegiance to the Boys in Green.

Keown Sr made over 300 appearances for Arsenal.
Keown Sr made over 300 appearances for Arsenal.

IRELAND U21 MANAGER Noel King says that there is “no pressure” on Niall Keown after the Reading defender received his first call-up.

The 19-year-old defender, who is the son of Arsenal legend Martin Keown, has been named in King’s U21 squad for the forthcoming Uefa U21 Championship qualifying game against Andorra after declaring for the Boys in Green.

A number of Irish players currently play for the Royals, including senior internationals Alex Pearce, Simon Cox and Stephen Kelly. Having made himself available for Ireland, England-born Keown now joins his fellow team-mates Sean Long, Pierce Sweeney and Liam Kelly as part of the Irish contingent at the Madejski Stadium.

“There is a very strong Irish group in Reading and he’s one of them now. He’s committed to the cause,” King told the official FAI website. “He qualifies [to play for Ireland] with an Irish passport and his father [Martin Keown] is well known, but his family are in Galway.”

King added: “He’s a late developer in terms of football. He’s doing very well. I’ve seen him a lot over the last 18 months. There’s no pressure on him really. I just want to see him as part of the group.

“The media might see him as a famous international’s son but from my perspective, if he can get into the team and make an impact that helps us qualify, then that’s a great bit of work.”

Ireland U21s take on Andorra at the RSC in Waterford on 26 March. Kick off 19:45.

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