The Chalkboard: Michael Keane is beginning to show why Everton spent big on him

A fairly turbulent debut season at Everton followed Michael Keane’s big summer move from Burnley back in 2017.

That the Toffees had three different managers throughout the campaign certainly did nothing to aid his transition.

The Manchester United academy graduate made 29 Premier League starts in his first season at Goodison Park, and was a constant presence in a backline that looked extremely weak under Ronald Koeman, equally as weak under David Unsworth, and a little bit more organised under Sam Allardyce.

Now, however, in far more settled circumstances under Marco Silva, Keane has been able to get his head down and show the Everton fans just why the club decided to splash out £30m on him.

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He has been a near ever-present this season, starting all but three of the Toffees’ league games and to great effect – the only games he missed came as a result of a hairline fracture to his skull after a serious clash of heads with Idrissa Gueye.

As well as notching a goal and two assists this season, Keane has been a formidable presence at the back both in the air and in the tackle.

His club form has even been taken to international level, where Gareth Southgate clearly sees him as  a key part of one of the most exciting England squads in recent memory – the whizz-kids in attack, such as Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho, can attack at will knowing that brick walls such as Keane are marshalling the back-line.

Last time out, the 26-year-old made his second start for the Three Lions in the space of a week against Montenegro, where he managed to net his first goal for his country whilst impressing throughout – he now has seven caps.

Keane has had some setbacks with injuries which have always appeared to stunt his progress at a time where it looks as if he’s about to kick on.

Now, however, the former Burnley man has been granted consistent football for both club and country, and is beginning to look every bit like a £30m centre-back – best of all, his peak years are yet to arrive.