BARNSLEY goalkeeper Luke Steele is dreaming of an England call-up.
And the former Manchester United shot-stopper is hopeful some of his starring performances for the Reds this season can help fulfill his schoolboy ambition.
Former England keepers Ray Clemence, now on the national coaching staff, and Joe Corrigan have both been down to Oakwell to watch Steele in action.
And with fewer English keepers on show in the Premiership this season, it’s hardly surprising the national team are looking at the Championship for potential.
Derby County keeper Frank Fielding has earned himself a call-up to the England squad in recent times as has David Stockdale, the Fulham keeper on loan at Ipswich Town.
“This season, for the first time in a long while, I’ve actually thought about it because everyone was aware Ray Clemence and Joe Corrigan came from the FA to watch games,” revealed Steele.
“Frank Fielding and David Stockdale have both been included in the England squad for recent matches, so I had it my mind.
“It’s quite relevant to my career right now, so I was pleased that I’ve been talked about.
“The fact I didn’t get called up for the recent internationals was okay. David Stockdale is a good goalkeeper and obviously done well, so there are no grudges there.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to get in an England squad - and that’s the next ambition for me.”
Steele has been happy gaining valuable Championship experience at Oakwell, having firmly established himself as the club’s number one.
“I wanted to play 150 games for the club and get experience under my belt,” added Steele. “That’s happened and now I want to be pushing for those sort of accolades.
“It is realistic because Stockdale and Fielding have both been recognised - and they’re both playing against me in the Championship. I believe it’s a realistic target to play for England.
“Goalkeepers do mature a little bit later. A lot of keepers develop early and are strong, but other players develop more in their 20s. That’s probably the case with myself; it’s taken a little longer to develop.
“David James played in the World Cup when he was 39 or 40 and many keepers retire when they’re past that age. Brad Friedel is still playing and doing well.
“I’m not getting impatient or too annoyed that I’m not in that squad yet because I’ve got a lot of time.
“My form is going well. The games I’ve played well in we’ve ended up winning or drawing, rather than losing.”