Its fair to say that some footballers just need a lucky break at some point in their careers to really get things started. And for a certain few individuals, its safe to say that they just don’t get the rub of the green.
Well, this logic can certainly be applied to Manchester United striker Will Keane, who has endured a topsy-turvey few years in the professional game.
After being given his first senior number back in 2010 at just 17-years of age, he’s really struggled to break into the United first-team amid managerial change and the constant desire to bring in big names.
Because of this, Keane, like many other Premier League youngsters went out on loan to gain some valuable first-team experience at the likes of Wigan Atheltic, QPR and Sheffield Wednesday, performing well when given the chance.
But it was this season when he went to Preston North End when we really saw how good he could be. Whilst he didn’t score bags of goals, (He dispatched twice in 22 appearances) he played a key part in a solid season for the Lilywhites.
However, he faced an extremely frustrating spell on the sidelines when he picked up an injury whilst playing for United in the FA Cup against Shrewsbury, his first United appearance in over four years.
And in another pretty unfortunate turn of events, it was his injury that paved the way for now-United superstar Marcus Rashford who has grabbed headline after headline since breaking into the first-team. It all adds up to a pretty torrid year for the England U21 international, but with injury behind him there’s plenty of optimism that he can really crack on and perform.
And he really does deserve that platform to show us what he can do- after all, there were plenty of youngsters who were given the chance under Van Gaal who did extremely well indeed. In truth, Keane doesn’t really fall into this bracket of a youngster anymore- he’s 23 and is starting to hit a key point in his career.
We saw at Preston especially how good his movement is. Whilst he might not be the man to hit 25 goals a season, his ability to move across the forward line to make space for his fellow attackers is extremely useful with this leading to plenty of Preston goals last season.
And upon his arrival back to Manchester United he quickly showed that reserve football was far below his level as he slammed five goals past Norwich City’s U21 side. It’s a difficult predicament that has left Keane too good for U21 football but sometimes falling short at seniors.
But as Rashford showed, it can take very little for the football to start well and truly flowing, and surrounded by the quality that United have, Keane can do well.
He was often regarded as one of the brightest sparks to ever come out of United’s Carrington-based academy but he hasn’t lit the world on fire as expected.
But if he can stay injury free in a team where he is enjoying every chance he gets at first-team action, Will Keane can give United another outlet.