Keane reveals injury horror from last season

Monday, 29 October, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last

Michael Keane has revealed the extent of the foot injury that only temporarily sidelined him last season but which would have lasting effects on his first season at Everton and his England prospects.

Speaking in The Sunday Times ahead of last weekend's clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford, the defender describes a nasty gash he sustained playing in a Carabao Cup tie against Sunderland in September last year, one that resulted in an infection so severe, there was a possibility he could have lost his foot had it not been treated in time.

“I played on,” Keane recalls following a hard tackle by James Vaughan in that game (one for which the former Blue apologised afterwards, “but I knew that something wasn't right and I had a hole straight through the top of my boot from his studs.

“I went in at half-time and my foot was aching but I didn't do anything about it and played the second half. When I took my boot off again there was blood everywhere. I found the skin an inch apart, split away, and a nasty gash.”

He was given stitches in the wound but woke up the following morning, “in absolute agony. I couldn't put any weight on it. I took 10 minutes to get to the end of my bed.”

Rather than kept out of action for recommended three weeks, Keane was pressed back into action against his former club, Burnley and played for England — on both occasions he wore padding on the foot and boots two sizes too big — before turning out again in what would be Ronald Koeman's last match in charge, the 5-2 defeat to Arsenal at Goodison Park.

His foot ballooned in the aftermath of that game and the infection started to spread so he was quickly hospitalised and given antibiotics. But he was on the pitch again within a week on painkillers which, he admits, began to severely affected his ability to concentrate.

He describes how he felt in the away defeat to Southampton, which, coming in the wake of a home thrashing at the hands of Atalanta in the Europa League, instilled the panic in the club hierarchy that led to the final approach to Sam Allardyce to take the reins from David Unsworth.

“I think that the pills I was taking were making me very drowsy,” he says. “I felt that I couldn't concentrate. It was weird for me. I've always been one who's really focused and to be in a game and find concentration hard. I was trying to follow Charlie Austin and couldn't. I was seeing things and not reacting.”

Keane's form during that period — he would open the wound up again on New Year's Day this year when Anthony Martial landed on his foot with his studs — was alarming to many Evertonians and it also cost him a place at the World Cup in Russia after he dropped out of the England reckoning.

It hasn't been until the last few weeks when, finally settled, fully fit and able to play his normal game, that he has been able to start showing why the Blues paid what will likely be £30m for his services the summer before last.

“I developed a thick skin,” the 25-year-old said of the criticism aimed at him for a spell of form that clearly had mitigating circumstances. “Naturally, when things aren't going well, you get stick from fans and there were times I didn't want to go out in public.

“You come through that and never want that again. And you want to prove people wrong. You get an inner determination.”


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