Everton started their Premier League campaign on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Stoke City at Goodison Park, with a first-half Wayne Rooney goal sealing victory for the Toffees.
After a lacklustre first-half display, Ronald Koeman’s men looked much improved in the second 45 minutes after switching to a back four.
While Rooney’s name will naturally dominate tomorrow’s headlines after his winning goal, Everton fans were quick to point out the performance of another man making his Toffees Premier League bow.
Michael Keane put in an assured showing at the back for Koeman’s men, starting in a three-man defence alongside Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams and finishing in a back four alongside the club captain.
The former Burnley enforcer was signed at sizeable expense over the summer and it was clear to see why Everton were so willing to splash the cash on the England international.
The Toffees fans have been crying out for an assured performer at the back, with question marks over the remainder of the club’s centre-halves in recent seasons.
However, Keane’s showing against Stoke has clearly instilled added belief in the Everton ranks, with a clean sheet another bonus from the win.
The 24-year-old was in the wars during the game after receiving a head blow, but looked like a real leader for the hosts as they hung on at the end to secure victory.
Keane even won a number of headers against Peter Crouch and his distribution with the ball at his feet was also impressive.
The Everton fans were quick to praise a number of their new men after the final whistle but the verdict on their new central defender was unanimously positive.
If the Toffees can become more secure at the back this season then a top-six finish will surely be in reach, with the supporters clearly believing that Keane will be a crucial man in the club’s hopes of a successful campaign – here are the best tweets.
Gueye tenacious as ever, Keane & Pickford excellent. Klaassen will improve, all Dutchmen take time to adjust to speed of Premier League #EFC
— Ben Grounds (@Ben_Islington) August 12, 2017
Rooney ran the show, Michael Keane looked superb, DCL was really effective when he moved inside & Pickford made a crucial save. #EFC
— Mike Peters (@djmikepeters) August 12, 2017
Michael Keane beating crouch for headers constantly. Him and pickford instil so much confidence. Another CB needed though.
— CJ (@cj87EFC) August 12, 2017
Missed the 1st 30 looking round budepest. Pickford and Keane look great signings. Rooney solid! Klassen quiet but his movement made the goal
— Michael Oskoui (@efc_skoui) August 12, 2017
Pickford Rooney and gueye were class. Keane looks dominant. Lewin worked his socks off. 1-0 win first game. Solid. More to come
— EFC People's Group (@ThePeoplesGroup) August 12, 2017
Pickford, Keane, and Rooney – Men of the Match! #EFC 🔵👊🏻
— Josh Wilbert (@joshwilbert1) August 12, 2017
Well that wasn't pretty but it's the 3 points that count. Improvement all round needed for next 4 games. Pickford and Keane excellent #EFC
— Joe (@Joe3Carroll) August 12, 2017
Defense looks so much more secure with Keane. He gets an 8 from me! #EFC
— uknicks (@uknicks) August 12, 2017
Keane looked great today and Rooney had more than a few flashes of brilliance and that save by Pickford 👏👏👏#EFC
— Aidan (@AJG_BC) August 12, 2017
Keane, Gueye & Rooney the standouts. Pickford with an incredible save & assurance throughout. DCL played well in his correct position! #EFC
— Charlie Maines (@CharlieMaines) August 12, 2017
Get in blues! Keane and Pickford absolutely class.
— Tom Jones (@EFC_Tom) August 12, 2017