The recognition for Michael Keane just keeps rolling in. For those who continue to doubt the Everton star, there is less and less ground to stand on. Today, Keane has been called up by England boss Gareth Southgate as part of his squad to face the United States and Croatia.
As we have mentioned already here at RBM, Michael Keane has shown that he is worth every dime that Everton paid for him last summer. All he needed was a competent partner (as opposed to the aging and fading Williams and Jagielka) and he was able to shine.
Keane joins fellow Toffee Jordan Pickford, club legend Wayne Rooney (who will be getting the sendoff he deserves), Everton’s record defender sale John Stones and former Everton player Ross Barkley who is benefiting from being surrounded by players better than him at Chelsea (think Bakayoko at Monaco but without less talent).
Manager Gareth Southgate had great things to say about Keane in his presser after the team announcement:
“I think when we look at the center backs that haven’t been regulars over the last few months with us, Michael at Everton is asked to play in a way now that is very similar to the way we are playing. He’s asked to take more responsibility on the ball at his club.
So he’s really recovered. He had a difficult end to last season; he had quite a serious foot injury that impeded him for a long period of time. But I like the way he’s played this year.
We’ve got an injury to Harry Maguire and James Tarkowski is also injured, but Michael is a player I’ve been looking at this season anyway, so it’s a good opportunity for him to come back into the squad.
He did very well for us in the game in Germany last time and at home to Lithuania.”
I appreciate that Southgate recognizes the things Keane has been asked to do stylistically. Keane is averaging nine more passes a game than last season and has battled back very well from his injuries. Keane has not only earned this call up with his play he has earned it with his determination and resiliency.
Southgate is not the only person to sing Keane’s praises this week. Former Everton midfielder/attacker Graham Stuart also talked him up on the official Everton site:
He is showing all the Evertonians what a really good defender he is – and in some respects he has a lot of room to develop even further because he is a relatively young man. He looks very comfortable at the Club now. I think the consistency of personnel in the back four has helped and he has developed a strong partnership with Kurt Zouma. But Michael being in such commanding form will make it easier for whoever gets the nod to come in for Kurt at Chelsea.
If you have been a Michael Keane hater up until this point, now’s the time to get on the right side of this question. Things are nothing but good for Michael Keane right now.