Michael Keane has the potential to be a “really top player” and showed Manchester United that he is superior to Mats Hummels in England’s friendly clash with Germany, says Paul McGuiness.
The Burnley centre-back was handed his senior international debut in Dortmund on Wednesday.
Aside from one nervy moment which allowed Leroy Sane to wriggle away from him, the 24-year-old put in an assured display for Gareth Southgate’s side.
His performance has sparked further talk of a possible return to Old Trafford this summer, with the no-nonsense defender a product of United’s academy system.
McGuiness worked with him while part of that set-up and believes that Jose Mourinho should be looking at Keane to bolster his back line, with there every reason to believe that he can offer more than former target Hummels, who was eyed before leaving Borussia Dortmund for Bayern Munich.
"A year or so ago, United were being linked with Hummels,” McGuiness told the Daily Telegraph.
“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]."
Keane has less than 18 months remaining on his current contract at Burnley, so a sizeable offer when the transfer window re-opens could tempt the Clarets into a sale.
United, though, are not the only interested party, with Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City all reported to be keeping a close eye on the situation.