Ungainly Keane has progressed against the odds
Yesterday we received the news that we had two players in an England squad, two players who had started out at Manchester United and moved on to give themselves an opportunity to play first team football.
Keane has certainly moved on. He’s a regular in a Premier League side, he’s been the subject of bids from champions Leicester and interest from Chelsea, and he’s currently at St. George’s Park as a member of the England squad.
He came through the Manchester United system alongside Jesse Lingard, who is also in the squad, and Paul Pogba, a player United gave away only to pay a record fee to get him back. They didn’t give Keane away but, less than two years on, he’s worth considerably more than we paid for him in January 2015. The Manchester Evening News are reporting today that the fee was around £2.5 million but, significantly should we sell him at some stage, there is no sell on clause.
Why did they sell him so cheaply, wasn’t he always going to be a potential England player? The answer is probably a no given the comments in the article from Paul McGuinness his former youth team coach.
McGuinness said: “At 15/16 Michael was not the most talented of the group. Quite a few people didn’t see a lot in him. He was ungainly and couldn’t control his limbs and because of that his technique wasn’t as good as others. When you are like that your legs, hips, pelvis and torso don’t work together.
“Also while you are growing you can develop back problems, but when you have the experience of seeing young players go through that you know it can right itself. Jonny Evans and Ryan Shawcross had similar problems at United.”
He added: “The big thing about Michael, however, was his determination because when he was 15/16 his body wasn’t developed we didn’t think he would gain that much from full time training so we advised him to stay on at school and train with us part time.
“But he was determined that eventually he stopped going to school, got himself a private tutor and forced the issue with us to go full time because he had the inner believe to do it. He is a fantastic example to any young player.”
Should United have kept him. McGuinness, who has since left the club, said of that: “The problem Manchester United managers have is the demand for success every game. Someone like Rio Ferdinand, for instance, was playing at the top level for West Ham as a teenager. He was making a lot of mistakes but he learnt from them and West Ham could allow him to do that.
“At United they couldn’t let that happen for too long with players because the expectations to succeed are so high. Michael also had the problem at United when he was about ready to break through that the team were not playing well. You cannot throw young players into that kind of atmosphere. Ideally you want to blood them when things are going well.
“But Michael is a fighter. He’s had knock backs but he comes back again and again. It is a great message to send out that when you have a setback you get off the floor, get over it and get on.
“People said not much came out of United’s 2011 Youth Cup side, but now you can add Michael to Pogba and Lingard. It wasn’t that bad was it?”
That Youth Cup winning team was: Sam Johnstone, Michael Keane, Sean McGinty, Tom Thorpe, Michele Fornasier, Ryan Tunicliffe, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Will Keane, Ravel Morrison, Gyliano van Velsen. Subs: Joe Coll, Alberto Massacci, Zeki Fryers, Tom Lawrence, John Cofie, Tyler Blackett, Larnell Cole.Share this page :