Lambert: Keane Needed That Goal
Friday, 6th Dec 2019 12:21
Town manager Paul Lambert says it’s up to striker Will Keane to take his opportunity if he is included in tomorrow’s League One team against Coventry at St Andrew’s in place of James Norwood, who is suspended having reached five bookings for the season.
Keane, who scored Town’s goal - his second of the season - in last Sunday’s FA Cup draw with the Sky Blues, has made only one League One start so far this season in addition to five sub appearances and four starts in cup games having spent the summer recovering from hamstring surgery.
“When somebody else goes out it’s up to the player to go and try and do as well as he can,” Lambert said on the prospect of Keane, who rejoined the Blues on a permanent basis in August following last season’s loan, coming into the team.
“Will scoring was great for him. I think he needed that goal. His general game was good and we’ll see what team I pick between now and tomorrow.
He added: “He’s been doing well. His injury was horrendous and hopefully he’s getting back to little bits of what he can do.
“I thought on Saturday his goal was excellent, it was good movement from him in the box, so we’ll see.”
Keane, who turns 27 in January, was highly-rated as a youngster in Manchester United’s academy, he was capped by England at U16, U17, U19, U20 and U21 levels, but has seen his senior career regularly interrupted by injuries, including twice undergoing surgery for knee ligament damage.
“I saw him at Preston years ago, and he was excellent,” Lambert recalled. “Obviously, he then got [his second cruciate] injury and injuries can give you a mental scarring because if you get too many, it’s a severe one for him.
“But I think the way he’s battled back deserves a lot of credit because he’s battled back against really bad injuries.
“He’s not getting any younger, but he’s not old either, so he’s in that middle ground where you’re hoping he tries to kick on with his career.”
He says the Stockport-born frontman, who switched international allegiance to the Republic of Ireland earlier in the year but is yet to win a cap, has now gone a number of months without having a problem with the summer injury: “He’s doing OK, and he’s doing really well at the minute, so hopefully he can continue that.”
Asked whether with both with Keane and Emyr Huws it’s to a great extent a case of regaining confidence and self-belief, Lambert said: “Yes, because if those lads breakdown it’s a big psychological hit for them, it’s a sore one. But thankfully the two of them are doing alright at the minute.”
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