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Michael Keane hopes play-off experience can help Derby County

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

LOAN EXTENSION . . . defender Michael Keane will remain at the iPro Stadium after extending his loan deal from Manchester United

LOAN EXTENSION . . . defender Michael Keane will remain at the iPro Stadium after extending his loan deal from Manchester United

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MICHAEL Keane hopes his experience in the Championship last season can assist Derby County's quest for promotion.

Keane helped Leicester City reach the play-offs in 2012-13 during a loan spell from Manchester United.

Now on loan at Derby, the England Under-21 international is set to face his former club at the King Power Stadium on Friday night.

Keane made 27 appearances for Nigel Pearson's side, scoring three goals, and played in both legs of the play-off semi-final against Watford.

An agonising last-gasp 3-2 aggregate defeat to the Hornets ended the Foxes' bid to reach the Premier League on that occasion – but they currently top the division.

Derby are fourth following a recent nine-match unbeaten run which featured eight wins and a draw.

After three substitute appearances, Keane has started the Rams' last four games following an injury to skipper Richard Keogh.

His loan from United was recently extended until the end of this month.

"It's good experience for me to have been here and done this before," said the 20-year-old defender.

"I've played in big games that mean a lot.

"I've been in this position before and the pressure the team comes under increase each week, to be honest.

"But I think I can help the team out."

Keane is finding his feet at the heart of the Rams' defence, alongside former Burton Albion stopper Jake Buxton.

"I've not played on the right side of the centre-halves for about a year now and it takes a bit of getting used to, in terms of positioning," he said.

"So I need more game time to get used to it but, hopefully, that will come.

"I played on the right for a while but at Leicester, I played on the left. It's not easy to switch, with things like body positioning and things like that."

Having come through the youth ranks at Old Trafford, Stockport-born Keane is out to impress his parent club - and any potential future suitors.

"I've been at United since I was 10 and you get taught to play football the right way," he said.

"You get taught basic skills which, as a centre-half, can be really helpful.

"All the players from Man United tend to go on to have good careers, if not at United then at another club, in the Championship or Premier League.

"I'm looking to be a Man United player in the future but a stepping stone is here at Derby, where I have to prove I'm good enough."

Keane has been fortunate enough to learn from one of his boyhood heroes at United.

"I'm a United fan and when I was young, my hero was Rio Ferdinand," he said.

"Obviously, now I've come up in the same team as him and training with him, which has been brilliant.

"It was surreal the first few times I trained with him and it took a bit of getting used to.

"But he's just a normal person and has been really helpful to me. It's amazing to play with him."

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