Michael Keane has noticed a change at Everton which goes way beyond the results in their impressive start to the season.
It is a change in mentality, a change in attitude and of course a change in the dressing room with the three top class signings in James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré.
But Keane can also sense a change in ambition from working with a world class manager in Carlo Ancelotti who is stamping his authority at Goodison Park in his first full season in charge.
Keane, one of the outstanding players in their impressive start to the campaign, said: “Everton is a massive club, the reality hit with a lot of the players that we’ve got a world class manager and, as players, if we’re not delivering then they can bring someone else in who can do a job.
“Obviously, since I’ve been here there’s been three, four or maybe even five managers and, as players, we have to take responsibility for that. We’ve been a young team but now we’re more experienced and we can’t hide behind a manager and his reputation.
“We can’t blame the manager anymore because he’s a world class manager, he’s proven to be world class over such a long period of time and it’s down to us as payers to do what we can on the pitch. Everybody is fighting for their places in the team.
“The manager gives us the best platform and the freedom to play to show what we can do. We know if we’re not doing that then it’s down to us and it’s not down to the manager.
“He’s brilliant, really easy going, easy to talk to and has got that authority about him. He commands respect straight away from everybody.
“I was talking to him the other day about the centre halves he’s worked with in the past. Just listening to the names, he was reeling them off… Cannavaro, Nesta, Maldini, Thiago Silva and he named about five more I’ve probably forgotten!”
The desire to be the best is clearly rubbing off on Keane who has stepped up to this season, winning himself an England recall, scoring two goals already and producing a string of excellent eye-catching performances.
Everton have been solid at the back, the big names have added to the team but the blend throughout the squad is the reason why they have made a 100 per cent start to the campaign.
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“I’ve been really pleased so far. I’ve played five games this season, three in the league and the main thing for me is being consistent. The best players in the league, in the world, are consistent and do it week-in and week-out,” said Keane.
“I’m at an age now, 27, where that’s something I need to be doing. In the past, I’ve done really well for six or seven months then maybe had a few off weeks and hopefully that won’t happen again. I feel really good, fit and strong.”
Of course all of the talk has rightly been about the spectacular new arrivals with James coming in from Real Madrid, Allan from Napoli and Doucouré from Watford as the club’s owners have backed Ancelotti to the hilt.
There is clearly a sense of excitement around James because they have brought in a global superstar but the squad has also done its own soul searching over the summer which is why they believe they can win trophies this season.
How do you think Everton will fare this season? Have your say below.
Keane added: “He’s got that extra quality and it gives a massive boost to the group. He’s shown consistency since he’s been here as well. He’s a top lad, normal, down to earth and settled in straight away. He’s been great.
“I think there’s also been an improvement throughout the squad, there’s been a collective thing. A shift in mentality. We’re moving towards a winning mentality and not accepting anything less than a win. We go into games expecting to win. We know it’s been a good start but that’s all it is.
“We should be looking to do something special this year. Push for a European place, get into the top six, we know it’s going to be tough but to be a successful season we want to finish in the European places and try to win a trophy.
“We’ve had a good start in the cup, if we can get to a final and potentially win something then it would be amazing. They are the sort of goals that we set ourselves as a group and what we are striving towards.”
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