While he might be quickly becoming one of Everton’s most reliable stars, defender Micheal Keane has revealed how he was almost forced to retire last season.
Speaking to The Times, Keane spoke about his injury hell last year and how close he came to having his foot amputated.
The 25-year-old also discussed playing in boots two sizes too big and playing under heavy medication.
Keane’s season of injury hell
Although many expected Keane’s £25million move to Goodison in 2017 to be the platform for a World Cup call-up, the defender instead had to deal with nothing short of a torrid 12 months.
On the wrong end of a two-footed challenge from Sunderland forward James Vaughan, the former Burnley man has discussed the extent of his horror injury.
“I played on, but I knew that something wasn’t right and I had a hole straight through the top of my boot from his studs.
“I went in at half-time and my foot was aching but I didn’t do anything about it and played the second half. When I took my boot off again there was blood everywhere.”
Despite being recommended to take three weeks off, Keane returned to training just 10 days later.
Relying heavily on painkillers, the defender also had to switch from a usual size 10 boot to a size 12 so he could ensure a speedy return to first-team action.
“I could kick a ball but the ‘feel’ wasn’t the same,”“I played quite well against Burnley but it was after that things took a turn for the worse.”
Keane almost losses his foot
However, Keane’s injury eventually caught up to him following Everton’s 5-2 defeat to Arsenal last season.
Rushed to a private hospital in Liverpool, it was believed an infection had begun to rise up to his knee.
The 25-year-old revealed that had his injury continued to go unchecked he could have had his foot amputated.
“If it had kept going up my leg that’s when it really gets serious — they said if it had got much worse we might have been looking at losing the foot.”
Along with his almost career-ending infection, Keane also suffered a fractured skull last season.
Forced to wear protective headgear after his accidental clash of heads with team-mate Idrissa Gueye, the 25-year-old was thankfully sidelined for just a month.
Keane looking to move on
Although his year of injury setbacks may have seen him miss the cut for Gareth Southgate’s 23-man World Cup squad, Keane is looking to put the past 12-months behind him.
“I developed a thick skin. Naturally, when things aren’t going well, you get stick from fans and there were times I didn’t want to go out in public.
“In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t best for me to keep playing — but I can’t say I’ve regrets.
“I was brought up to show determination. I didn’t want my teammates to think that I’d shy away from problems. The team was struggling and I wanted to be in the thick of the action.”
“It was gutting not to go to the World Cup but I knew I had my own performances to blame — even if the reasons for those performances maybe weren’t my fault.”
Now sat ninth in the table and with their sights set on a return to European football, Keane and Everton will welcome Brighton to Goodison Park next weekend.