Will Keane offers a tantalising glimpse of the future
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.