The Chalkboard: Michael Keane needs to step up against Watford to keep place ahead of Yerry Mina

Marco Silva is set to return to Vicarage Road on Saturday after suffering back-to-back defeats with Everton, but the game looks set to be huge for both Silva and Michael Keane after the latest injury update on Yerry Mina.

On the chalkboard

The central defensive trio of Keane, Mina and Kurt Zouma are the standout options available to Silva, but the former has been struggling in recent weeks.

The Portuguese manager’s arrival initially sparked a notable improvement in the £30 million man’s form, but old habits have slowly slipped back into his game.

Careless mistakes and half-hearted challenges both on the floor and aerially suggest that Keane could lose his place in the side if he allows Troy Deeney to get the better of him at Vicarage Road.

Watford’s talisman has consistently proven to be a menace for Premier League defenders with his powerful and diligent approach in recent years. If Keane isn’t up for the fight Deeney will not need a second invitation to capitalise on any potential frailties.

 Mina could replace Kane following his return from injury

Considering Deeney’s strengths, Silva would have appreciated the option of bringing 6’5″ Yerry Mina back into the starting eleven, but the fact he has been labelled as a doubt for the game suggests Keane will have another opportunity to prove himself.

Mina has only made eight starts in the Premier League this season but his performances within that short period of time suggest he has the quality to establish himself as a rock at the heart of defence.

Boasting a level of physicality and determination which Keane often lacks, the 15-cap Colombia international could restore a sense of solidity into the back line and establish himself as a leadership figure for the rest of the squad.

The problems Everton are currently experiencing run much deeper than the defensive unit, but Silva could take a big step towards tightening things up by replacing Keane with Mina following his imminent return to fitness.

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