Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Michael Keane is the sort of player England needs

David Nugent in Editorial, World Cup 4 Oct 2016

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Burnley centre-back Michael Keane has been called-up to the senior England squad for the first time

Burnley centre-back Michael Keane has been called-up to the senior England squad for the first time

Burnley’s Burnley Michael Keane has added to Gareth Southgate’s first England squad after Stoke’s Glen Johnson pulled out due to injury.

The Three Lions take on Malta and Slovenia in World Cup qualifiers in the next week and a half.

Snubbed for the original squad, the 23-year-old may now get a chance to prove his worth at international level.

The former-Manchester United trainee won 16 caps for the England under-21 team under Southgate.

A hungry player

Quite frankly the England team have been woeful at times over the last few tournaments. The humiliating Euro 2016 last-16 exit against Iceland should have led to big changes in personnel. It did in managerial personnel, but not on the playing side.

It seemed like many of England players had lost their motivation and hunger to play for their national side in France. Players like Michael Keane can give the squad fresh energy and impetus.

The centre-back will be determined to give his all and will not rest on his laurels like some of the more seasoned players in and around the Three Lions squad. At the Euro’s the squad was pretty young. However, it was arguably more experienced players that let the side down.

The England team needs changing from the foundations and the introduction of players like Keane can only help the squad evolve.

Keane has been outstanding for Burnley

Keane started his career at Manchester United but made only one top-flight appearance for the Red Devils. He was regarded as a bright prospect by many at Old Trafford. However, in September 2014 moved to Burnley initially on-loan, but then completed a permanent move for an undisclosed fee the following January.

He showed great character by leaving United in pursuit of first team football. The move has proven a big success as he has been a key player for much of his time with the Clarets. This season in particularly the defender has impressed in the heart of the defence.

He marshals a Burnley backline that have looked solid this season, in front of fellow England squad member Tom Heaton. Not only does he contribute to his team’s defensive displays, he is also a threat at the other end of the pitch.

Keane scored five times in the Championship season, so he offers an aerial threat in attack for his team as well. First and foremost, though, Keane is a very good defender and will no doubt show that if given the chance for the Three Lions.

He is such a good defender that Premier League champions Leicester tried to sign him in the summer. Chelsea have also been heavily linked with a January move for the centre-back as well. Michael Keane’s career is definitely on the up at the moment.

If the centre-back was at a more high-profile club he would have probably already made his debut. However, it is nice to see him get a chance, as he deserves it for his displays for the Clarets.

Southgate should experiment

The next two games should give interim boss Gareth Southgate the chance to experiment with his players. England host Malta at Wembley on Saturday in a game the Three Lions are odds of 1/50 to win.

Fair to say nobody would expect Malta to pull off a shock. They are minnows of European football and will be likely to happy to just be visiting Wembley. This is not me talking as an arrogant Englishman. This is more talking as a realist.

Even England could not lose this game. It would be an ideal opportunity to give some fringe players their chance to impress in the starting eleven. The big factor in this game though is that Gareth Southgate is fighting for the job on a permanent basis.

The interim boss will want to put out the strongest team possible and achieve the biggest victory possible. He will not be concerned about blooding new players at this point. If Southgate gets the job on a permanent basis then he can shake things up if he wishes.

Anyway for me, Southgate has made the right decision in bringing Keane into the squad. I for one hope the centre-back is given a chance, as it is not exactly likely England’s main centre-backs have covered themselves in glory of late.

Should Michael Keane be a regular in the England squad?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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