Paul Robinson has told Sky Sports News (broadcast on 11/9; 10:34am) that he would disagree with anyone who suggests that Everton’s Michael Keane is not good enough for England.
Keane endured a tough evening as the Three Lions beat Kosovo at St Mary’s. It was his mistake that led to the visitors’ opener, and he was wasteful in possession in the 5-3 victory.
There were some bright moments for the centre-back, but there are likely to be plenty of fans who would rather see another defender picked ahead of the 26-year-old.
But former England international Robinson – who is an old teammate of the Toffees star – insisted that he has the quality to play at the very highest level.
“I disagree with that,” he told Sky Sports when asked what he made of those suggesting Keane may not be good enough for the international level.
“I played with him at Burnley. He’s an all-round centre-half, but I think one of the things that he does lack ever so slightly is concentration. He needs somebody next to him to keep him on the ball all the time.
“His ability as a footballer, his passing ability is unquestioned, his ability in the air. And he’s got so much speed, he sometimes gets caught out, people get in behind him, but he’s deceptively quick and he recovers very, very well.”
In fairness to Keane, he has proved his critics wrong once before. He struggled during his first year at Goodison Park and some felt that he was going to be a flop on Merseyside.
However, he responded superbly last season. Keane is now one of the first names on Marco Silva’s teamsheet, and it is no surprise that he has become a prominent part of Gareth Southgate’s plans.
But with Southgate not short of options at the back, he may need to prove himself all over again if he hopes to keep that spot heading into the next international break.