Michael Keane was once touted for stardom at Preston, but it didn’t quite work out for him.
The Irishman joined the Preston youth setup as a teenager, coming over from Dublin. There was plenty of early excitement with Keane, and David Moyes was leading the plaudits.
“He will go a long way in the game. Another Roy Keane? I hope so,” said Moyes, as quoted by The Irish Independent. Those comments came way back in 2001, after Keane had scored against Wimbledon.
Keane ended up making just 56 league appearances for North End, and was axed in 2004. Keane struggled after leaving Preston, turning out for Hull City, Rotherham United and St Pat’s Athletic before hanging up his boots in 2008.
The midfielder’s career was over by the age of 25. St Pat’s sacked Keane for being overweight, and he was never able to recover from that blow. This wasn’t how it was meant to turn out, having earned those Roy Keane comparisons.
Now, Keane has been looking back at the start of his career with Lancs Live. Keane admitted that he had huge clubs chasing him as a teenager, with Gerry Francis ‘going mad’ to bring him to Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester City also wanted him, but Preston appealed to him so much because of how David Moyes sold him on the club. Moyes clearly rated Keane highly, and the Irishman respected him hugely, but turning down those major sides for the lure of first-team football at North End just didn’t work out.
“I’d actually had a lot of clubs including Man City and Tottenham interested in me at a young age,” said Keane. “I was looking around and I’d been to Preston on a few occasions, and Preston just really appealed to me. Gerry Francis at Tottenham was going mad to sign me, Joe Royle too at City, but when I went and spoke to David Moyes he said he knew there was a lot of interest but we feel this is the best place for you.”
“He just said that if I did well in the youth team, I’d get a chance in the reserves no matter how young I was and then if I did well there he’d play me in the first team – there was a lot of common sense and he had that sparkle in his eye straight away,” he added.