KEANE'S GROWING PAINS; RISE AND RISE OF YOUNG LION; England star was nearly dumped at 16 and had to reach the top the hard way; EXCLUSIVE.
Byline: RICHARD EDWARDS
MICHAEL KEANE was almost left on football's scrapheap at the age of just 16 - after a growth spurt.
The 24-year-old England defender's extraordinary rise to stardom will hit new heights when his PS25million move from Burnley to Everton is rubber-stamped this week.
But things could have turned out very differently had Paul McGuinness - former Manchester United Under-18s coach - not shown faith in the player when others were wavering.
Keane was given a second chance on the insistence of McGuinness (right) - and the centre-back has not looked back. He left Old Trafford for Turf Moor for a fee of PS2m in the 2015 January transfer window and has since emerged as one of the country's most outstanding young defenders.
McGuinness, who left Old Trafford in February 2016, said: "When Michael was turning 16, we had to decide about whether to make players a full-time offer as a scholar.
"Michael was going through a growth spurt at the time and when you're already tall, that can cause even bigger problems.
"His legs got longer and his body hadn't grown strong enough to cope with that. He was gangly, which then affected his technique. People were saying he wasn't good enough. We told him that his body wasn't really ready for training twice a day and that he was better off carrying on at school and doing his A levels before coming in at night and training with the under-18s.
"We did exactly the same thing with Tom Cleverly and Jesse Lingard."
So determined was Keane to be a success at Old Trafford that he ultimately left St Bede's College in Manchester and paid for his own private tutor to spend as much time as possible playing football.
With Keane still not being paid as a fulltime scholar and only receiving expenses from his club, it proved to be an investment that paid off handsomely.
"We told Sir Alex Ferguson what he was doing and the kind of dedication he was showing," said McGuinness.
"Sir Alex arranged to pay for the tutor and that led to him getting a contract and going on to play with the reserves.
"The vital thing is to play games. At that point, all the coaching staff had seen his potential and thought he had a chance to play in the first team.
"I suppose - similar to Gerard Pique - he needed to go somewhere else to get a run of games and prove himself again."
Keane has done just that at Burnley - and now Everton will hope to reap the rewards.
DEFENDER'S STATS IN PL Burnley 16/17 Burnley 14/15 United 14/15 PLAYED 35 21 1 GOALS 2 0 0 ASSISTS 1 1 0 TACKLES 28 21 1 INTERCEPTIONS 63 42 1 BLOCKS 43 8 0 CLEAN SHEETS 10 2 0 YELLOW CARDS 4 1 0 RED CARDS 0 0 0 FOULS CONCEDED 14 4 2
HEADING TO TOP: England's Keane beating Germany's Mats Hummels 0 0 2
THE ONLY WAY IS UP In a few short years Keane has gone from gangly youth to a PS25m England defender
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 2, 2017|
|Previous Article:||Share his whisper; Watts The Goss; High voltage secrets of the stars; New George single 'out soon'.|
|Next Article:||HAPPY is never the right .|