Michael Keane explains why he had to leave Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Burnley Michael Keane has explained why he had to leave Manchester United in 2015, noting that the constant changes of manager at Old Trafford stunted his progression.

The 24-year-old made his Man United debut during a 3-0 win away at Aldershot in October 2011 before making his first start against Newcastle in the League Cup just under a year later.

Keane was then handed his first Premier League start by Louis van Gaal back in August 2014 against Sunderland, only for the youngster to then move to Burnley a few weeks later.

And the Englishman, speaking after his first start for the England national side earlier this week, was quick to note that his decision to move away from Old Trafford had been justified by recent successes at both club and international level.

“I always thought if I am playing well in the Premier League I would have a chance,” he said. “I was always confident in my ability… I always thought I would make it at United.

“A few changes in manager did not help and when I left I felt I had a point to prove and it made me work that bit harder. I feel maybe I have proved it.”

Deciding to leave Old Trafford would have been far from easy for Keane. He had ascended through the ranks from a young age and finally received his reward at the Stadium of Light, producing a solid performance alongside Tyler Blackett and Chris Smalling in a back three. This was the most concrete sign of progress yet, but with Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo about to join the first team and Blackett showing signs of potentially securing a regular place under the Dutchman he decided that his future lay elsewhere.

Two and a half years later, Keane can gladly claim that his decision has been vindicated: now a regular at Burnley, a club currently eight points above the relegation zone, and – as of last Wednesday – a member of the England senior set-up under Gareth Southgate.

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