Keane 'Thankful' He Chose To Be A Blue

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Michael Keane says he is “thankful” he chose to join “huge club” Everton in the summer after deciding to leave Burnley.

Centre-back Keane was also linked with a transfer to former team Manchester United – who he will line up against when Everton travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.

But two-and-a-half months after completing his switch to Goodison Park, Keane insists he is already reaping the rewards from working on his game with boss Ronald Koeman.

And the 24-year-old is busy swatting up on the weekend’s opposition in his bid to make a winning return to his old stomping ground.

“Everton is a big club and has got a great fanbase… and we are in Europe,” said Keane.

“United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, so it was not an easy decision to make. I thought about it throughout the summer, maybe even a bit longer than that.

“In the end I came to the decision that I wanted to join Everton and I am thankful I have done that because I think it is going to be the best thing for me in the long run.

"I will, hopefully, play a lot of football here and make the step up into Europe.

“I have seen in the time I have been here how good the manager is, he has been great with me so far. We have had some great games when we have played well, and a few games where it has not gone so well.

“But I am only young and still learning so, while it is not enjoyable to go through those bad experiences, it is good to learn and it will, hopefully, make me a better player.”

Everton go to United smarting from Thursday’s Europa League defeat in Atalanta and seeking to engineer an upturn in Premier League form after successive losses to Chelsea and Tottenham.

Jose Mourinho’s side, by contrast, are sitting pretty at the top of the table and launched their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory over FC Basel on Tuesday night.

Nevertheless, Keane, who grew up a United supporter and spent six years with the club after joining as a scholar in 2009, is embracing the challenge of trying to upset the Red Devils this weekend.

Chief among his tasks at Old Trafford will be containing former Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.

“I will watch little videos of him,” said Keane. “I will watch his goals, typical movements he makes, see what he is like on his left foot and right foot – and in the air.

“But I was doing that all last season, so when I do it now I find myself watching the same things over and over again and it comes flooding back! I analyse all the players I play against.”

Keane also knows that, should he need to, he can call on former England centre-half Rio Ferdinand for counsel.

Ferdinand, once the world's most expensive defenders when he cost Leeds £18million from West Ham in 2000, won six league titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at Manchester United.

And he acted as a mentor for the young Keane back when the Everton defender was emerging through the United ranks.

“Rio has helped me with big decisions throughout my career and been there if I need to speak to him about anything,” said Keane. “He is someone I would lean on and I spoke to him a few times in the summer as well.

“He texted me when the move happened and said he thought it was a great move for me.

“Everton are a huge club and have ambitions to get right to the top - and I want to be a big part of that.”

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