Michael Keane believes he will continue to thrive under the tutelage of Marco Silva as he revealed the Everton boss’s attention to detail “is like no other manager I’ve worked with”.
The 25-year-old says he is playing his best football since signing for the Blues from Burnley in the summer of 2017.
Keane has produced a series of commanding displays at the heart of Everton's back four this season and has been a key figure as the Toffees have racked up three consecutive Premier League wins.
And the centre-back says he is reaping the benefits of Silva’s meticulous work on the training pitches at USM Finch Farm.
“Whether it’s off the ball, playing out from the back or set-plays, we know what we’re doing,” Keane said.
“We know where people should be at certain times, with particular patterns of play that we work on.
“It’s not just organisation off the ball but organisation on the ball, which is a big difference to what I’ve ever done before.
“I think a lot of coaches make sure you’re organised off the ball but, when you’re on the ball give you a bit of freedom, which we still have here. But I think it’s good to have those patterns of play and work on them regularly so you know in the games you can always refer to them.
“Some days we do defensive work - how to get pressure on the ball - and then other days it will be playing out from the back. We mix it up throughout the week.
“His attention to detail is like no manager I’ve been with in the past.
“He is very approachable and friendly, too, but at the same time if you need telling something at half-time, he will tell you. I think that’s the best way to be.”
Keane delivered a man-of-the-match performance as the Blues secured a dramatic 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace last time out.
He won 13 duels and made eight clearances during the game – both higher totals than any other player on the pitch.
He also had key roles in both Everton goals against the Eagles.
For the opener, Keane won an aerial battle on the edge of the Palace box, finding Richarlison with his knock down. The Brazilian then fed Ademola Lookman, who crossed for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to head home.
His lofted through ball then found Cenk Tosun, who lashed past Wayne Hennessey to secure all three points for Silva’s men.
Keane says there is a mood of optimism around the Club at present, with belief growing with every victory.
“We’ve started the season well and it could have been even better - we’ve had a few draws where we should have won,” he said.
“Playing well myself in the first few games was massive, because it gave me confidence.
“I came into this season thinking it’s a clean slate, a new start, a new manager - and it’s a great opportunity to show what I can do.
“I’ve just got more confident game by game and the team is winning now.
“Everton is a great place to be right now – we’ve got a massive squad and a lot of competition for places and that brings the best out of players.
“I think that’s one of the main things that’s pushing me on and pushing all the lads on to do better.”
Keane has partnered summer signing Kurt Zouma at centre-back during Everton's three-game winning streak, with the Blues conceding just one goal in that period.
The Manchester United youth product says he has relished linking up with the Frenchman, revealing the pair have built up a strong relationship on and off the pitch.
“I’m really enjoying playing with Kurt,” he said. “He’s been really good since he’s come into the team. I can talk to him, we get on well, he’s a really good guy off the pitch.
“We work a lot together in training. He is very athletic and good on the ball, so he’s got a lot to offer.”
Next up for Keane is a meeting with former club United, as Everton aim to maintain their upward trend.
The defender expects a stern test against Jose Mourinho’s side but is convinced the Blues boast the quality to emerge with a positive result.
“We know the calibre of player they’ve got and what they’re capable of on their day, so we’ve got to be best prepared to stop them doing that,” he said.
“We just need to keep playing like we are. It’s very positive here at the moment.”