Michael Keane has opened up about his decision to opt against switching back to former club Manchester United this summer.
Jose Mourinho was determined to secure the signature of a central defender this summer, and was understood to be a big fan of United’s academy graduate. The interest lasted only so long, however, and they made no attempt to persuade him to re-sign, instead opting to go for Benfica’s Victor Lindelöf.
In an in-depth interview with The Times, Keane admitted choosing Everton over the club he grew up supporting was an incredibly tough choice to make, but it was a decision based on what he thought would be best for his career. He also admitted that he isn’t as big a United fan as he used to be growing up.
“They [United] were in touch with my agent and showed a lot of interest,” Keane stated. “They wanted me, but a few things happened and I thought Everton would be the best place for me to come. I thought I would get a lot of game time here, more than I possibly would at Manchester United, and that was a massive factor in my decision.
“To be honest, having been at Burnley for three years, I wasn’t a fan of the club like I used to be. I wasn’t as big a fan of Man United as I had been, so I had to sort of put that to one side and just think rationally about what would be best for me as a footballer.
“My family are all Man United fans so it was not an easy decision. My dad would have been delighted if I had signed for United. But he is glad I have come to Everton and not Liverpool, put it that way.”
The Englishman knew that such a big decision would draw a lot of questions or criticism, and he revealed that he had taken a lot of advice from the people close to him. In the end, Everton seemed to be the best bet, and he is happy that he picked a move to the Toffees.
“Of course [people will question it],” says Keane. “United are one of the biggest clubs in the world and it is not an easy decision to make. I thought about it all throughout the summer and a bit longer. I spoke to my family, friends, agent, I got advice from people I used to work with at United. Loads of different people.
“In the end, I came to the decision of joining Everton and I am thankful I did that because it is going to be the best thing for me in the long run.
“We have had games where we’ve played well and a few games where it hasn’t gone so well. But I am young and learning and that is going to be good for me. While they [defeats] are not enjoyable, you go through them and learn and it will make me a better player.
“You have to look at what is right for you as a person. I have done that throughout my career. When I went to Burnley, they wanted me on a permanent [transfer] straight away, I didn’t want that to happen because I wasn’t sure it was the right move for me at the time, so I went there on loan.
“Then I learnt to love the club because I was playing week in, week out so I decided that was the best place for me to go permanently.”
Keane comes up against his former club on Sunday for the first time in Everton colors, and will hope to help his new side get a result against United at Old Trafford.
Manchester United fan, Wayne Rooney is his role model. Passionate writer who has written for several sites in the past. He’s also an aspiring pianist and creates background music for BlameFootball’s Youtube channel.