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Reading FC Youngster Keen To Make Use Of Father Martin Keown's Influence

While taking a different route in his international career than his Dad, Niall Keown is hoping to make hay of the experience and advice bestowed upon him by the ex-England defender.

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Currently part of the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad, the academy defender started and played the full game on Thursday, suffering a 4-1 defeat to Italy in Group 2 of the U21 European Championship qualifiers. With Slovenia up next on Easter Monday, the Irish must win to keep hopes of qualification alive as only four games remain.

1st Italy 16 pts (Qualifies)
Serbia 13 (Play-offs)
3rd Slovenia 12
4th Rep. Of Ireland 9
5th Andorra 3
6th Lithuania 3

"My Dad is a big influence on me but doesn't get too involved in analysis," he told Irish Examiner.

"As a former centre-back, I've learned lots from him and we talk at times about my game. We're on the same wavelength. Both my Dad's parents were born in Ireland and he still gets stick from our family in Galway for representing England.

"There was no way I could turn Ireland down. Growing up, I spent a lot of my summers in the west of Ireland it was drilled into me. I was delighted to accept the call."

With three appearances for the Reading first-team, the 20-year-old signed a three year contract extension in the summer.