Will Keane offers a tantalising glimpse of the future

HAT-TRICK HERO: Will Keane celebrates with Ravel Morrison Image: Manchester Evening News

Far too much has been spoken about Manchester United’s youngsters in the past seasons. And after Wednesday’s Youth Cup crushing of Chelsea, it’s not hard to see why. The flair of Larnell Cole, the intelligence of Paul Pogba and the ever-so-nifty Gyliano van Velzen flourished and inspired United to a resounding, thumping triumph.

Then, there was William Keane; once the 90 were up and the game long over, the sound of ‘Keano’ boomed around Old Trafford as if fans had sensed a new hero emerging through the shadows much like his namesake, Roy Keane, did. Indeed, Keane will hope for many more games at the Theatre of Dreams, a dream that surely will be realised in the near-future. For, the young Englishman has great potential.

But, potential can be misleading. The word itself has connotations of something positive, but, in football, it is sometimes used as an inaccurate measure of an individual’s ability. There are many players who, at a young age, are spoken in high regard but for most, potential is soon a distant, happy memory as they are simply unable to fulfil such promise.

Pressure for United’s freshest crop is at an all-time high; and, unfairly, they are, now and again, talked up and compared to the Class of ’92. But that only serves a distraction for this raw, talented side with a thirst for success and more. The impending two-legged final with Sheffield United will certainly be difficult, but United will rightly go in as favourites.

And it was Will Keane’s hat trick against Chelsea in United’s 4-0 win (the other goal, the first, from Ravel Morrison) that allowed the aspiring academy scholars a chance to gain success – it is not only the seniors going the distance. Keane’s treble was somewhat typical of a ‘no.10′ – two of his goals coming from close range and the other from a penalty spot. However, what you could immediately identify from the young prodigy is that his finishing is excellent, complimented by great movement and tactical awareness.

While the youngster is not the quickest, he does not shy away from taking on his opponents and has often showed great work ethic for the reserves. He can play deep, too, with (loosely speaking) shades of something Wayne Rooney-like about his game. And, like Rooney or Dimitar Berbatov, Keane thrives in linking up play and allowing his teammates to get involved.

Is there a reason to get excited about United’s latest hat-trick hero? Don’t take my word for it. McGuinness once said of the forward after a stunning debut season in 09/10; “he’s been really outstanding and has scored some stunning goals but his general team play and his demeanour, his attitude on and off the pitch, have been excellent.” Since then he’s progressed rapidly and the thinking is that Keane will not go the same direction of those who failed at the cliched last hurdle – his three goals against Chelsea giving us every indication that there is still yet more to come from him.

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4 responses to “Will Keane offers a tantalising glimpse of the future”

  1. Doron says :

    Nice read. His pace is actually somewhat deceiving, there’s little doubt he’s quicker than he should be given his gangly frame.

    This isn’t of course his first important hat-trick; he got one against Man City last year in the league.

    I think he has to work on his aerial ability to be honest. I would have said strength too, but gym work is finally starting to pay off for him. Considering he’s a good height, he’s not good in the air. The timing of his jumps are often poor and he needs to be more competitive. However he showed a few signs of improvement in this area last night – winning some impressive duels in the air with the bigger Pappoe.

    One of his strengths is that he has a good balance of selfishness and unselfishness – all strikers need to be selfish and try to get a shot on goal, he’s good at that. However, he’s also very adept at dropping a bit deeper and bringing his team-mates into the game, much like Berbatov.

    It’s still a bit premature to suggest he will ‘make it’ but he’s a hard worker and he’ll definitely be giving himself a good chance of a decent career.

    • The Gaffer says :

      Great comment, Doron!

      Ever the expert on youth you are, and cant disagree with Keane’s so-called weaknesses there. I recognise there is more to his game that can be addressed and improved but the talent is there.

  2. Simone DiSalvo says :

    I try not to get to excited by the hype surrounding our youngsters considering so many great academy players never make it to our first team. This kid Keane though, he could really be something special. Let’s hope he stays level headed and continues to flourish.

    I really think next season will be interesting with the influx of young players returning from loan. It will be a spectacle to see who gets the axe and who gets fergie’s stamp of approval. No doubt there will be some purging from our list of strikers.

  3. Jack says :

    it would be great to see the kids come through.

    but so many have shown promise and then been sent on there way, so i wont be getting my hopes up until there are in the first team.

    the main problem is that its a different game than it was a few years ago and i am not sure a summer of ’95 gamble would pay off as well as it did all those years ago.

    our first team squad is have major issues and tbh i wouldlove to see a player like pogba get a chance before the end of the season because our midfield is a nightmare at the moment.

    hopefully fergie can pick up the right players in the summer, clear out the first teamers who are not playing well and allow the kids to get there chance too.

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