FOOTBALL NEWS

05/08/2012 17:17, Report by Steve Bartram

Keane savours senior start

While Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand reprised their tried and tested partnership in central defence against Valerenga, rookie defender Michael Keane was making his first senior start in an unfamiliar left-back role.

The absence of Patrice Evra, who returned to Manchester to be with his pregnant wife during her labour, gave Keane an unexpected outing, but he savoured every moment of the Reds' goalless draw in Norway.

"It was strange," the youngster told MUTV. "I've not played there [left-back] for over a year now, but I thought I adapted quite well to the position and Rio and all the other players helped me out a lot, so I thought I did quite well.

"They've all got great experience and they're great players to play with. I grew up watching all of them and to play in the same team as them is great. I really enjoyed it."

Club captain Vidic, meanwhile, was suitably impressed with Keane's endeavours, admitting: "I'm glad he's had a full ninety minutes. He was confident on the ball and it's a big change from the youth academy, obviously, and I think he did really well."

Whether or not Keane is involved in the Reds' next outing, against Barcelona on Wednesday, he is merely relishing the chance to be a part of the senior squad's pre-season preparations.

"It's been good so far," he said. "We've only been here a day but we had a good time around the hotel and the game today was a great experience. It [the Barcelona game] is a great occasion for everyone and it'll just be a great game to watch, never mind play in if I get a chance. I'm looking forward to it."

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