New Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti got his reign off to a positive start with a win and a clean sheet against Burnley on Boxing Day, but he sent out a double worrying message to one Toffees player on the same day.
Michael Keane had found himself on the substitutes’ bench for Duncan Ferguson’s final match in caretaker charge against Arsenal having started the three previous fixtures under the Scot.
The England international would have been hoping to be back in the starting XI for the Italian’s first game at the helm against the Clarets, but instead he was dealt a blow as the former Napoli boss decided to stick with Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate at the heart of the defence against Sean Dyche’s visitors.
Watch Everton Videos With StreamFootball.tv Below
When the team-sheet was announced it looked as though it was going to be a 4-4-2 formation for the Merseyside outfit, with Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman at full-back and Djibril Sidibe playing on the right of midfield.
However it quickly became apparent that Digne was similarly advanced to his French compatriot on the left as a wing-back, and in fact Coleman was filling in as a make-shift third centre-back alongside Mina and Holgate.
Now this was hardly a glowing endorsement of Keane’s qualities, seeing a natural full-back asked to play as a central defender when he was sat on the substitutes’ bench.
The early signs then are that the 26-year-old, rated at £27m by Transfermarkt, has some work to do to win his new manager around, but some fans probably aren’t too disappointed to see him on the sidelines given some of the criticism he has come under on Twitter for his displays in 2019/20.
Did he play for Everton? Simple question but a lot tougher than you think…
He has made some costly mistakes for his country too gifting Kosovo a goal in the opening 60 seconds at St Mary’s in September, and he perhaps doesn’t quite match up the comfortable ball-playing centre-backs Ancelotti likes to have in his side, as per The Liverpool Echo.
The one bit of good news for Keane is that despite his setback on Boxing Day, the busy festive period may well mean he gets his chance when the inevitable rotation happens – the Italian manager has already hinted at this – and that could be against Newcastle United on Saturday.
In other Everton news, Burnley manager Sean Dyche has offered his views on the Toffees’ style of play on Boxing Day…