Former Manchester United youngster Will Keane has been reflecting on how an injury and a subsequent chance to start for Marcus Rashford put an end to his prospects of breaching the first team at Old Trafford once and for all.
The Englishman came through the club’s academy from a young age and made his senior debut against Blackburn Rovers back in 2011, only to then suffer a significant knee injury that left him on the sidelines for almost a year. A series of loan moves at Wigan Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End followed, and he was eventually brought back into the fold by Louis van Gaal in January 2016.
He was thrown during the second half of United’s 3-0 win over Shrewsbury in the FA Cup fifth round back in February and, sure enough, suffered a groin injury whilst firing a shot against the post. United were, as a result, desperately short on strikers for their second leg clash with FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, with Wayne Rooney injured and Anthony Martial pulling out during the warm-up. The stage was set for 18-year-old Marcus Rashford, the boy from Wythenshawe, and, well, the rest is history.
And Keane, who later moved to Hull City (only to then receive another significant injury after just a few weeks), has been reflecting on that pivotal evening and, while happy with Rashford, admitted that he regularly asks himself what might have been if he didn’t pick up an injury just a week before.
“That night was bittersweet for me,” he said.
“I was happy for Marcus, but I had been waiting for another opportunity and that had been taken away by another injury. I often think: ‘That could have been me.’ If I was playing I would have backed myself to score a goal or two, and then you never know.”
“Now I am out on the pitch next to the lads, doing ball work, so I feel like a footballer again. I will be fit in a couple of months, all being well.”