Loan man Keane has no regrets after missing out on United start

Former Fox: Clarets loan man Michael Keane enjoyed a spell at tomorrow's opponents Leicester City two seasons ago, helping Nigel Pearson's side reach the Championship play-off semi-finals
Former Fox: Clarets loan man Michael Keane enjoyed a spell at tomorrow's opponents Leicester City two seasons ago, helping Nigel Pearson's side reach the Championship play-off semi-finals

In a strange quirk of fate, on loan defender Michael Keane could have made his first Premier League start for Manchester United debut last Saturday - but found himself waiting for that landmark, on the bench for Burnley at West Brom on Sunday.

However, the Stockport-born 21-year-old insists he has no regrets over his loan switch to Turf Moor, and believes, rather than a short term gain at United, he will benefit in the long run with the Clarets.

Keane joined Burnley on loan on deadline day until January, but while he awaits his Clarets debut, there has been something of a defensive crisis at Old Trafford, with injuries to Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, while Tyler Blackett was suspended for the visit of West Ham.

It meant that 19-year-old Patrick McNair was called up for a debut alongside Marcos Rojo, with Keane also unavailable to Louis van Gaal, who allowed him to further his experience with the Clarets.

Keane has made three starts for United, all in the Capital One Cup, but still awaits that first Premier League start. However, he admits he has got over the disappointment: “I probably would have played on Saturday but it’s just one of those things, you have to be in the right place at the right time, and unfortunately it didn’t work out for me. I got over it pretty quickly, no regrets.”

“But I still think, in the long run, this loan will be better for me.”

The England Under 21 centre back has been on the bench for the last two Burnley games, but, after 90 minutes in the U21 Premier League Cup defeat at home to Hull City on Tuesday night, feels up to speed.

He has had to be patient for a chance in a side which kept three-successive clean sheets before Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at West Brom, but he is prepared if called upon at former club Leicester City tomorrow: “I’m definitely ready to go, I feel physically fit, I think the more I play, the sharper I’ll get, because I’ve not had a good run of games yet this season.

“But if called upon, I’m ready and hopefully can take my chance.

“I’ve been impressed with the team so far, obviously there was a bit of a blip at the weekend, but before that the lads were really solid and kept three clean sheets in a row.

“I know it’s going to be really tough for me to get into the team because they’ve been doing really well, and when I do get a chance, I need to step up to that level and play like they have been playing.

“I’ve had no complaints at all, the lads have been playing really well, so I know I will have to be patient.

“One blip probably won’t be enough for me to get into the team, but I’ll just keep training hard and stay fit and hopefully take my chance when it comes.”

Keane made 27 appearances on loan with the Foxes as they reached the play-off semi-finals in 2013, and isn’t surprised by the way they have taken to life back in the top flight: “Leicester have started really well, they play with a lot of energy and have got a lot of goals in them, so we’re definitely going to have to be on it defensively.

“Hopefully we can score a few goals as well.

“I used to play there so I know pretty much the whole team, and I’ve played against them a few times as well.

“They are a good team and it’s going to be tough.

“They have a lot of matchwinners, players like Jamie Vardy who never stops running, so I’ve not been surprised how well they’ve done.

“We both lost out last games, so we’ll both be looking to bounce back quickly.”

Burnley, meanwhile, look for a first win in eight games, and first goal in seven: “Obviously we need a win sooner rather than later, so we’ll be doing everything to get that, but it’s not at that desperate stage. The lads have been playing well and if we keep that going, it will come.”