Manchester United might have already got their Rio Ferdinand replacement

by Tracey Germaine

Michael Keane recently gave an interview to the Daily Mail and revealed his future hopes at Manchester United as well as giving an interesting insight into his character.

Michael is be hoping that following the departures of big names in central defence that he can push forward to stake his claim under new manager Louis Van Gaal, who has a reputation for giving young players a chance.

The 21-year-old was close to making his Premier League debut in the final matches of last season when Ryan Giggs named him on the bench against Hull City but never made it on the pitch.

“I was on the bench,” said Keane.

“I thought there was a chance that I was going to play but I was just happy to be involved. I’d have liked to have got on as I think I would have done well.”

As for Van Gaal’s arrival, Keane is excited to see what he and Giggs can do for the club.

“I’ve heard the new manager likes to bring young players through and that’s always been the way at United. With Giggsy staying on, that can only benefit the young players. He’s an idol for every player that comes through. You see how professional he is and his enthusiasm for training every day no matter the fact he has played for 20 to 25 years at the top level.

“He comes in every day wanting to give his best. Hopefully, we’ll have a good pre-season and prove ourselves. If we do that, we’ll have a chance to play.”

Keane had two loan spells last season at Derby County and Blackburn Rovers and rather hilariously revealed he is known by his teammates as “the referee” because he’s one of the few players left who wears black football boots.

“I can’t be wearing those bright yellow ones, can I? It’s my job to kick the players wearing bright yellow boots, isn’t it?,” he explained.

The towering 21-year-old can play both at centre back and right back, and has been known to go on bursting runs through the middle to nab himself a goal.

This could prove to be a huge season for the man as competition opens up with the departure of Nemanja Vidic and his idol Rio Ferdinand.

“When I was young I always had Rio’s name on the back of my shirt,” Keane added.

“Rio was my idol when he first joined United and he still is. Luckily, I’ve managed to train with him for a few years. He talks to everyone.

“It’s sad to see him go. He was a great person to have around and he was great with the young lads. He speaks to everyone and always gives you advice. He talks to me about positional things.

“If I make a mistake in a game, he will ring me and tell me what I should do better. He wants to give you feedback. It was a surprise at first but now I just see him as a friend. I know I can go to him whenever I want.

“Rio’s a really nice guy. Sometimes footballers get those type of reputations but he’s not like that at all. Behind the scenes there’s no one better to have around.

Asked whether he could take over Rio’s jersey, the young man from Stockport said: “I hope so. That’s the dream. I still think I’ve got a chance of making it at United. While I still think I’ve got that chance I will stay and try to prove myself.”

Michael, along with his twin Will, is currently representing England Under-20s in the Toulon Tournament.

He has been ever present in Gareth Southgate’s squads and Southgate feels that both twins will improve under Van Gaal as well as the experience of playing in the Toulon Tournament.

“For Michael and Will, they would benefit from working with a coach like Van Gaal who will open their minds to different ideas,” Southgate said.

“Michael is a player who can use the ball and is very comfortable at stepping out with the ball. He’ll be better for the experience here.”

This summer could see United bring in a world class centre back but if Van Gaal wants to promote from within, then Keane is a strong contender to get some opportunities.

Image: Twitter/southamptonfc

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