England manager Gareth Southgate is looking forward to watching Everton defender Michael Keane this season to see if he’s up to the task of marshalling his defence at Euro 2020.
He said: “It is going to be interesting to watch Michael with Everton. We will have to assess in those bigger matches how he copes under intense scrutiny – and against those teams which cause you problems with their movement and pose different questions.
“Since we worked with him at 20 and 21, he has always been comfortable in possession. What we have to find out over the next period is [how he manages] the different challenges from different types of forwards – the different movement patterns against the very top teams.”
TBR’s View – Keane can usurp Merseyside rival Gomez in England pecking order thanks to superior gametime
It would be a surprise if John Stones and Harry Maguire were not, when fit, Gareth Southgate’s first choice central defensive duo.
That said, Stones needs to play regularly for Manchester City in order to keep that spot, and the same goes for Joe Gomez.
The Liverpool man could slip behind Keane in the pecking order – if Saturday’s 4-0 win doesn’t suggest he already is – because he is not a regular starter.
Meanwhile, Everton’s lack of central defensive options means that Keane is almost guaranteed gametime this season as long as he’s fit and that could just see him squeeze into that Euro 2020 starting team.