Former Manchester United youth team coach Paul McGuinness believes that Michael Keane compares favourably with the Germany and Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels and that his former club should endeavour to re-sign him this summer.
McGuinness left United in February 2016, after working in the club’s academy for 23 years and is widely credited with aiding the development of scores of players to emerge at Old Trafford, including, Darren Fletcher, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and more recently Marcus Rashford.
Keane, made a graceful England debut against Germany on Wednesday evening and was a peer of Pogba and Lingard’s on the last occasion that United, under McGuinness’s tutelage, won the FA Youth Cup in 2011.
He was then allowed to join Burnley in 2014, becoming, according to McGuinness, an ”unfortunate” casualty of the post Sir Alex Ferguson years.
“Sir Alex could give a young player a game and there was no pressure on him, where as the other managers (David Moyes and Louis van Gaal) were under pressure so they couldn't do it as much,” McGuinness said.
“You need to see a player's development over time, Sir Alex would see how determined and dedicated a lad was, how he'd improved from 15-16 years of age and how he'd pushed himself. You need that longevity and connection with the youth staff to understand what's going on. Obviously a lot of things changed at United at that point so it was a little unfortunate but all the coaching staff felt that he had a chance.”
“A year or so ago, United were being linked with Hummels. If you watched that game against Germany and you were looking for a player for the future, you'd pick Michael Keane above Hummels.
“He's quicker, better in the air and decent with his feet. He's not as experienced as Hummels but he knows the club, he's a United player really in that sense, so he'd tick a lot of boxes. He has the potential to be a really top player. He's smoother on the ball or at least as good as the central defenders United have at the moment, so of course he could [be successful].
With under 18 months remaining on his contract at Turf Moor, Keane is presently attracting admiring glances from Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. However, Telegraph Sport understands that a return to United, who have asked to be informed of any developments, would also appeal to the player.