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Ronald Koeman is desperate to improve the quality of the Everton squad that managed to finish 7th in the points table last season. The club is set to lose its top goal scorer in Romelu Lukaku but Koeman is doing enough business to compensate for this loss. He has already started improving on other areas of the squad and one player sure to improve the backline is Michael Keane.
The Toffees replaced John Stones last summer with former Swansea City man Ashley Williams, who was decent and he is expected to partner Keane next season in the first team, pushing Phil Jagielka to the bench. So how does Keane compare with the experienced Welsh international?
Both players played a similar number of games in the top flight of English football last season and were effective for their sides. With a passing accuracy of 82% and a successful take-on rate of 100%, Williams is clearly a better player with the ball at his feet. Keane had an accuracy of just 72% and successfully completed just 83.33% of his take-ons last season.
Williams scored just a goal, compared to the couple from Keane, but Williams has 8 key passes to his name, creating 11 chances. Keane has just 6 key passes registered all season, creating just 7 chances.
More importantly, Williams won 1.19 tackles per game while Keane is at a lowly 0.69 tackles won per game. However, the former Burnley man was more effective in the box defensively, winning 63.55% of his aerial duels, and 61.25% of his total duels last season. Williams does not even come close, winning just 58.33% of his aerial duels and 49.45% of his total duels all season.
Keane triumphs Williams in other key defensive areas as well. The newbie at the Goodison Park made 1.94 interceptions per game, 1.26 blocks per game and committed just 0.40 fouls per game. This is a huge improvement on Ashley Williams, who had 1.67 interceptions, 0.81 blocks per game and committed 1.06 fouls per game last season.
The former Swansea man was slightly more effective with a no-nonsense approach and he made 8.06 clearances a game, compared to just 7.26 from Keane, who also used a similar approach. Both players made two glaring errors in the league last season, but neither cost their sides a goal.
Everton are yet to replace Stones in the first team but Keane, though completely different in his game, could be just the right man for Koeman’s squad.
Stat Credit: Squawka.com