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Former Man Utd defender Keane compared to Pique as he closes on Everton mov

The England international has been praised for treading the same path as Barcelona’s World Cup winner as he prepares to make a step up in class

Michael Keane has been compared to Barcelona star Gerard Pique for taking the decision to leave Manchester United in order to further his career.

The 24-year-old is reported to be closing in on a big-money move to Everton, as Burnley brace themselves for an impending exit.

A return to Old Trafford had been mooted for the former Red Devils academy star, but he appears destined to open a new chapter in his career at Goodison Park.

Wherever he ends up, the England international has been praised for having taken the tough decision to leave United in search of regular football despite being regarded as a player of some promise – much like World Cup winner Pique did when returning to his roots at Barca in 2008.

Former United academy coach Paul McGuiness told the Daily Mirror: “We told Sir Alex ­Ferguson what he was doing and the kind of dedication he was showing.

“Sir Alex arranged to pay for a tutor and that led to him getting a contract and going on to play with the reserves.

“The vital thing is to play games. At that point, all the coaching staff had seen his potential and thought he had a chance to play in the first team.

“I suppose – similar to Gerard Pique – he needed to go ­somewhere else to get a run of games and prove himself again.”

Keane left United having made just five first-team appearances, with much of his early experience picked up during loan spells.

He linked up with Burnley in 2014, with a loan deal quickly turned into a permanent transfer, and has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the Clarets, earning international recognition along the way and interest from leading Premier League clubs.

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