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Paul McGuinness: Manchester United should re-sign Michael Keane

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United youth team coach Paul McGuinness believes that Jose Mourinho should re-sign Michael Keane.

The youngster featured alongside Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard during Man United’s FA Youth Cup win under McGuinness’ tutelage back in 2011.

He was then offloaded to Burnley on a permanent basis in January after managing just five appearances in three years at Old Trafford.

And McGuinness, reflecting on Keane’s composed debut for the England senior side earlier this week, was quick to insist upon a return to United for Keane.

“Sir Alex could give a young player a game and there was no pressure on him, where as the other managers (David Moyes and Louis van Gaal) were under pressure so they couldn’t do it as much,” he said.

“A year or so ago, United were being linked with Hummels. If you watched that game against Germany and you were looking for a player for the future, you’d pick Michael Keane above Hummels.

“He’s quicker, better in the air and decent with his feet. He’s not as experienced as Hummels but he knows the club, he’s a United player really in that sense, so he’d tick a lot of boxes. He has the potential to be a really top player. He’s smoother on the ball or at least as good as the central defenders United have at the moment, so of course he could [be successful].”

Many youngsters that leave United often do so with a bitter taste in their mouth. For years they imagined themselves featuring as a regular at Old Trafford, and all of a sudden they find themselves confronted with a reality they never properly envisaged: playing elsewhere, most likely at a club with inferior infrastructure and pedigree.

But this was not the case with Keane: the 24-year-old left because he knew, deep down, that he was ready to play regularly at the highest level, and he saw Burnley as an ideal fit. Two and a half years later, his decision has been well and truly vindicated. The Englishman has started to compliment his raw mettle with an air of composure and positional knowhow at Turf Moor, earning a place as a regular starter this season.

Mourinho perhaps ought to take advantage of the fact that Keane, now a real future prospect under Gareth Southgate, remains open to a move back to United.

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