When Rafa Benitez was first announced as Everton manager, it caused controversy among the supporters at Goodison Park.
Their frustration was fully justified, too. They had lost Carlo Ancelotti and brought in a coach who has such a great affinity with Liverpool and Anfield.
Those bad vibes have been quickly eradicated, though, with the Spaniard engineering seven points from a possible nine at the start of the season.
Benitez’s new signings have hit the ground running brilliantly, with Demarai Gray finding the net on two occasions already.
However, the Toffees have struggled in one area of the pitch; defensively.
Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina have been missing for the early stages of the campaign, which has meant a centre-back pairing of Mason Holgate and Michael Keane.
Unfortunately, it has not gone well. Everton have only kept one clean sheet in all competitions this season, which came against Brighton last time out.
That was a rare good performance from the centre-back, who has actually been a liability in 2021/22.
The £69k-per-week earner failed to pick up his man for the goal that Everton conceded against Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup and was also at fault in the draw with Leeds.
Keane turned slowly and couldn’t intercept the ball, which allowed Patrick Bamford to pick up possession and then play in Mateusz Klich, who found the net.
He has attracted widespread criticism this term, particularly from Sport Witness journalist Sean Lunt. Speaking about his ineptitude last month, the reporter commented: “Another sloppy goal for Everton to concede and it’s Michael Keane again. He’s regressed awfully once again, Everton would do well to sell at this point.”
Selling the 28-year-old might be a stretch too far but it would be wise of Benitez to axe him from his starting XI when they face his former team Burnley.
They take on the Clarets next Monday and could be boosted by the return of Mina and Godfrey, who both now seem back to fitness.
Despite his productive performance against Brighton, it’s still incredibly difficult to trust Keane completely. He should be taken out of the firing line.