Keane encouraged by Southgate call but time before the Euros is short

Saturday, 15 May, 2021 13comments  |  Jump to last

Michael Keane has revealed that he called England manager Gareth Southgate to understand why he was omitted from the national squad in March.

The Everton defender had been a regular in the England setup until this year and, while his form has dipped somewhat at club level in recent weeks, he had had a very good season for the Blues prior to being dropped by Southgate.

In quotes published by the Liverpool Echo, Keane says that he didn't agree entirely with the Three Lions head coach's rationale for excluding him from the March World Cup qualifiers but was heartened to know that a pathway back to the national squad remains open to him.

He is running out of matches to impress, however, with just three Premier League games remaining before Southgate names his squad for this summer's delayed European Championships.

“There were obviously things I didn't agree with and I think that's normal when I've not been picked, I'm going to be frustrated,” Keane said of his telephone conversation with Southgate.

“I know what I need to work on, what I need to do to get myself back in it. That's the main thing that I got out of the call. I know the door is still open so I'll have to see what happens.

“I think it's good to have open, honest conversations with your manager sometimes to see where you can improve and do better. I think he appreciated me giving him a call as well. I think it was definitely worthwhile for me getting clarity and I knew what I had to do.”

“I think even if it's not an easy conversation for him to have, he can see it's coming from a good place because he can see that I was disappointed not to be in the squad and I really want to be in it.”

After overcoming a minor injury, Keane was back in Everton's starting XI for the trip to West Ham last week and featured again at Aston Villa on Thursday night as the Toffees kept back-to-back clean sheets.

While there is talk that Everton might be in the market for another centre-half in the summer, Keane, at least, appears to have Carlo Ancelotti's backing both at club and international level.

“Carlo told me he was confident I'd get back in [the England squad] and to keep doing what I was doing.

“He said at the time he was still confident that I'd go to the Euros. I just got my head down, worked hard with Everton and I've just got to carry on now and finish the season strongly and hopefully Carlo is right and I can get back in it.”


Reader Comments (13)

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Kieran Kinsella
1 Posted 16/05/2021 at 00:09:21
I thought he was a shoo-in at Christmas but he's had some struggles since then. That being said, I'm not convinced Coady and Mings are much better. Godfrey, on the other hand...
Lee Courtliff
2 Posted 16/05/2021 at 00:54:34
Keane, Mings, Coady, Tarkowski, etc – all in the same bracket for me. Any of them could be picked for England.

Maguire and Stones are clearly our best 2 centre-backs.

David Ellis
3 Posted 16/05/2021 at 09:11:01
Southgate should take Godfrey instead. Particularly if he wants to play three at the back. He has better distribution and more pace than Keane, Mings etc.
Si Cooper
4 Posted 16/05/2021 at 10:56:30
Pace is Ben Godfrey’s trump card over pretty much any (central) defender you can think of.
Distribution? Well, one ‘have that on a plate’ pass aside I’d not say he was any better than Michael Keane (so far).
Into the mix is aerial ability, where I’d give Keane the ‘nod’, both defensively and from attacking set pieces.
So it’s a bit of a ‘horses for courses’ call if you ask me.
Personally I’d be very happy if Ben had some down time and didn’t dazzle at the Euros as I think his chance will eventually come anyway and I don’t want want him on everyone’s shopping list anytime soon. It would be nice for MK to be part of the squad and get some reward for the times he’s been asked to cover for absentees over the last couple of years. I don’t think he’d be first choice so wouldn’t be too taxing.
Dave Abrahams
5 Posted 16/05/2021 at 11:43:17
When was the last time Southgate picked Keane for a competitive game for England rather than a friendly?

Glad to see Michael Keane is showing some much-needed aggression, picking up the phone and asking why he wasn't in the last England squad? That's a start, Michael, well done.

Jimmy Salt
6 Posted 16/05/2021 at 15:21:41
Keane phoned Southgate for feedback reassurance = Bad management.
Mark Frere
7 Posted 16/05/2021 at 16:18:07
I don't want any of our players playing for England for selfish reasons. I don't support England and my feelings are of indifference to how they fare at major tournaments.

I think England currently have the worst generation of centre backs I can ever remember. It's definitely a far cry from not that long ago when there was the likes of Ferdinand, Terry, Sol Campbell, Ledley King etc to choose from.

Godfrey, I think, should definitely go as he adds something different with his pace and athleticism. He's already streets ahead of the very average Mings IMO. Ben has all the tools to become an Everton and England legend.

A real shame for us and England that Holgate has regressed rather than progressed from last season. As last season he was arguably our best player and I thought at the time he'd be a shoe-in for the Euro's.

As for Keane, he's a 'steady Eddie' and probably deserves to go... but he's never going to be in that elite category - and would never be good enough to be in previous generations of England squads.

Thomas Richards
8 Posted 16/05/2021 at 16:20:50
Is there currently a better English centre half than Ben Godfrey?
Justin Doone
9 Posted 16/05/2021 at 21:37:03
Keane wasn't and shouldn't be picked because he's not good enough.

He's not good enough for Everton or any top 4 aspiring team.

Same for Stones, always a mistake followed by more headless decision making. Pickford another one.

England need to play 3 at the back, Tomori, Maguire, Walker and although Godfrey has had a vary good season, and I'm always happy to see him play in our defence, he's not yet at that level.

The Euros aren't a time to learn on the job. You need good, experienced professionals that play at a consistently high level.

This is especially true at the back as mistakes aren't always highlighted and players vilinised by the press.

Nicholas Ryan
10 Posted 17/05/2021 at 00:19:12
Michael, do you REALLY want me to tell you why you're not in the England team? Cos if you do, I'll be here for a week!
Michael Lynch
11 Posted 17/05/2021 at 17:14:56
I can just imagine that conversation:

Keane: "Boss, how come you never pick me?"
Southgate: "re you taking the piss? You're fucking shit. You're nowhere near the best central defender at Everton, let alone in England, you deluded bellend."
Keane: "What?"
Southgate: "Sorry, must be a bad line, I said I'll definitely be keeping you in mind, you're on my shortlist for sure."

Phil Smith
12 Posted 18/05/2021 at 14:15:28
Distribution from the back is one thing Keane has really stepped up his game at this season. Godfrey has much work to do in that department and his positional sence (see the goal we conceded against Sheffield Utd) is still raw.

Keane's horror show against Kane the other week will stick in Southgate's mind (he was at Goodison to see that) and that's why he won't go to the Euros, which is shit because everyone can have an off day and, generally, he's been our most consistent defender this season.

Jay Harris
13 Posted 18/05/2021 at 14:35:21

If you look at Sheffield Utd's goal, you will see – besides the lack of bite from Allan and Holgate – Keane actually let the ball run by him, totally confusing Godfrey.

It was a disaster from the whole defence – but especially Keane, who should have cut that ball off.

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