English Premiership

Burnley to replace in-demand United target Keane

Michael Keane.(Getty Images)
Michael Keane.(Getty Images)

Cape Town - Stephen Ward doesn't expect to see Michael Keane leave Burnley for Manchester United ahead of next season, but the club will be short a crucial player if he does.

Jose Mourinho is reportedly interested in signing the highly rated young defender, who is a former member of the Red Devils youth setup, and Ward worries that his departure would leave them short in defence.

"I haven't heard anything yet, but I wouldn't expect him to," Ward said in a recent interview with Goal.

"If Michael goes, we're going to have to sign someone because we'll only have three centre-halves."

Should Keane depart, that will mean a bigger role for Ward's fellow Republic of Ireland international Kevin Long, who is expected to make a bigger impact at club level this coming season.

"Kevin will have a chance," Ward said. "He's shown he's a good player and it's great for him to come in here and it's given him a lot of confidence. It'll be a good battle for him next year.

"He's done great. He's had to wait his chance at club level with the two centre-halves doing so well. As I say, injuries happen in football unfortunately, and he's gotten his chance in the last few games and done really well.

"It's great for him to get a couple of caps here. I'm sure he'll be delighted with that and hopefully a big season ahead for him as well."

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