In the Game of the Father

niall keown crop

Arsenal legend Martin Keown’s son Niall has been earning plaudits for the Reading U21 side and with reports that he has already declared for Ireland, could the Boys in Green recruit the defender, having missed out on his old man?

niall keownThe 18-year-old has been a key figure at centre-back for the Royals U21 side and has already made the bench for the senior team. With Stephen Kelly, Alex Pearce, Pierce Sweeney, and Sean Long in the ranks, Keown would be the latest in a line of Irish players to come from the Madjeski Stadium outfit.

The Evening Herald recently reported that Keown had pledged his allegiance to the Republic. He qualifies through his grandparents. Dad Martin was born to Irish parents and famously played Gaelic football growing up in Oxford. Despite playing under-age for England, Keown senior was enquired after by Irish manager Jack Charlton.

Keown captained the Royals and scored against Manchester City in the Under 21 Premier League in February, one month after he featured on the bench for the first team against Nottingham Forest, a game attended by Martin O’Neill.  He then marshalled the defence in a victory over Arsenal, the club where his father forged a stellar career. Martin Keown, who had a brief spell at Reading at the end of his playing days, made over 300 appearances for the Gunners and played 42 times for England.

Showing the defensive trait runs in the genes, Niall was picked out for special mention for two exceptional blocks in Reading’s recent Under 21 Cup victory over Wolves.

Last summer, Reading’s academy was awarded Category One status, the highest level measuring facilities, standard of coaching, education, and ability to produce players for the first team.

Martin Keown, whose family hail from Galway, has been spotted following the Tribesmen at Croke Park, and is a regular football analyst on TV3.

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