Everton’s Michael Keane fails to impress in England opportunity

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets… 

Michael Keane was presented with the ideal opportunity to stake his claim for a regular place in the England side over the international break but has failed to make the most of his chance.

The Everton defender started both games against Bulgaria and Kosovo alongside Harry Maguire, and although the first match went to plan, he was at fault for Kosovo’s opening goal on Tuesday as the Three Lions won a crazy game 5-3.

He made up for the way he gave away possession by rising highest to assist Raheem Sterling for England’s equaliser, but the fact the Three Lions conceded three goals against a team ranked 120th in the world does not reflect well on the Toffees centre-back.

Prior to the Kosovo game, he had three clean sheets to boast of in six matches for club and country, and in his last ten Premier League matches had contributed to a defence that conceded only six goals.

Gareth Southgate, therefore, picked him on merit, but he could have doubts over his reliability after Keane passed straight to Vedat Muriqi in the opening minute, leading to Valon Berisha capitalising on his subsequent gilt-edged chance.

Overall, it was a game to forget for the former Burnley man despite his contribution going forward, with his statistics from SofaScore highlighting his underperformance in several key areas.

Keane can consider himself somewhat fortunate that he made such a poor error in a match where England had too much quality for the opposition and simply overwhelmed them.

Despite that, it could hinder his chances of becoming Southgate’s first-choice centre-back, as will the fact that he failed to win a single tackle despite playing the full 90 minutes.

Such a performance could also be a worry for Marco Silva, with the Toffees playing Bournemouth on Sunday and therefore coming up against the pace of Josh King and Callum Wilson, who will look to take the ball past Keane and exploit him with the ball on the floor.

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The fact the 26-year-old made three interceptions will provide a reason for optimism, as will his two clearances, which is a good return considering England had 58% possession, although the opposition’s level of quality is lower than what Everton will face in the Premier League.

The Kosovo game proved that Keane has to improve his ability on the ball, though.

Not only did he gift a goal to Kosovo but he also lost possession on ten occasions, which is simply not good enough for a defender.

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