Everton’s season has already had several ups and downs under Rafael Benitez, with their fast start to the Premier League campaign unravelling in recent weeks.
The Toffees got 2021/22 off to a blistering start, losing just one of their opening eight top-flight fixtures to spark hope of a genuine push for European qualification.
Summer signings Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend stole the headlines after bagging a combined eight goals in Everton’s first nine games in all competitions, but neither has found the back of the net in the team’s last four outings.
Injuries have played a significant part in the Toffees’ downturn in futures over the last four games, with the absences of Yerry Mina, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucoure contributing to their miserly total of just one point from a possible 12.
However, one player who has been relatively consistent throughout Everton’s rise and fall has been Michael Keane.
The centre-back has had to contend with lining up alongside a number of different partners at the heart of defence this season, including Mina, Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey. He has been an ever-present in Benitez’s side, though, playing every minute of their topsy-turvy campaign.
Keane’s goal against his former club Burnley helped to seal a 3-1 victory, and although his two assists came in defeats against Watford and Wolves, they illustrate his attacking prowess in the opposition box.
However, it’s in his traditional defensive duties where Keane has really excelled. As per SofaScore, the 28-year-old has won a whopping 59 duels, made an astonishing 46 clearances and 30 interceptions, and completed 17 tackles and 14 blocks.
If Everton are to get back on track and revive their season, then the England international could well be key to their fortunes, and Benitez will be hoping that his unsung hero continues his current run of impressive form.