The official Everton site has featured some comments from Michael Keane in light of his good form, but really, no one should be surprised the defender is doing well. For the first time since coming to the club, the defender has a consistent defensive environment that suits his play style.
Keane was wonderful at Burnley before coming to Everton, but between being paired with the likes of Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka, and the injury challenges Everton has had at fullback in the last 18 months, there was simply no way for him to show what he could do.
A lot of chatter takes place about Everton center backs. Some folks came into the year thinking that Mason Holgate was somehow an answer in the middle of the defense, some wanted to simply pair the new men Zouma and Mina together, but all along Michael Keane has been the same top level player that we signed two summers ago.
According to the article from the official Everton site (linked above) Keane is fourth in the league in aerial duels won (despite missing two games) and he’s only given away two free kicks, but digging a little deeper reveals even better realities. He completes 71% of his attempted tackles and 81% of his passes, that last number being third on the team among players with at least 500 minutes.
Every time in his career that he has been paired with another competent center back (as he is now with Zouma) he has performed well. Too many Everton fans look at last season and assume that because the season was bad then all or nearly all the signings were bad as well, but Michael Keane is a signing that Everton got spot on, and it’s high time he deserves recognition for it. This should include not only the praise of Everton fans but also a call up from England boss Gareth Southgate.