Loan Watch: Will Keane joins Preston North End


Will Keane has joined Preston North End on a season-long loan.

The 22-year-old joins the newly-promoted Championship side for the entirety of the 2015/16 season.

Keane will wear the number nine shirt for The Lilywhites, as they aim to establish themselves back in England’s second tier, where they return for the first time in four years.

Having been capped by England at every level up until and including the U21 side, Keane has experience of Championship football.

He spent a month’s loan at Wigan Athletic between November and December of 2013, making four appearances, where a groin injury cut short his stay at the DW Stadium.

The second half of the same season saw Keane feature for QPR, where he made 10 appearances as The Rs made an immediate return to the Premier League via the play-offs, with a 1-0 victory over Derby County at Wembley.

This led to his inclusion in United’s tour of America last summer, where he featured in the second 45 minutes of the 3-2 victory against AS Roma.

However, Keane wasn’t to see first team action again until January 2015, after a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday saw him net three goals in 13 games.

Jumping back to before any of these loan spells occurred, Keane was on the verge of United’s first team, making his debut as a substitute in a 2-3 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers on December 31 2011.

Despite this, a damaging knee ligament injury suffered whilst on England U19 duty in May 2012 seriously halted his progress, as he wouldn’t play again until September 2013 when he returned for United’s U21s before his loan spell at Wigan.

During this time, for club saw the fast-tracked progress of Danny Welbeck and the arrival of Robin van Persie to add to Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, thus seeing Keane’s first team opportunities limited when back to full fitness.

His twin brother Michael enjoyed successful loan spells at fellow northwest outfits Blackburn and Burnley over the past 18 months, before the defender made his switch to Burnley permanent back in January.

With turning 23 next January, Keane will hope for a prolific season, as he aims to follow in the footsteps of David Beckham and Welbeck, in having an encouraging temporary period at one of England’s oldest clubs.

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