Clarets defender Michael Keane is looking forward to being reunited with his idol at Loftus Road this weekend.
The 21-year-old credits former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand for his development at Old Trafford, and revealed that he still seeks guidance and advice from the one-time England international.
Keane was added to the books at United as a 10-year-old, shortly after Ferdinand’s £30m move to the club in July 2002. And the most expensive British football player at the time became a source of inspiration to Keane.
“He was my idol when I was young and I always had his name on the back of my shirt,” he said. “When I started to come through at United he was always a big person for me. He always spoke to me, like he did with the rest of the younger players, and I still keep in touch with him now.”
Ferdinand, who was handed a controversial three-game ban by the FA at the end of October, moved to Loftus Road in the summer and has made seven appearances. However, he hasn’t been involved since a 2-0 loss to West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground two months ago.
“It would be great to play against him,” Keane said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him. He’s one of the people I know I can ring if I need some advice and he’s always been great with me so I’m thankful for that.”
Although he learned from Ferdinand, the on-loan Clarets defender admits that Nemanja Vidic also impacted significantly on the make-up of his game.
he Stockport-born defender made his Reds debut among a back four including the Serbian in a 3-0 Capital One Cup win against Aldershot at the EEB Stadium in October 2011. Vidic then offered Keane some pointers when making his first senior league start during a loan spell with Leicester City against Bolton Wanderers.
“I’d like to think I’ve got a little bit of both,” Keane said. “I can head the ball and I can do my defensive work really well. I think composure is a big part of my game and hopefully I can show that more over the coming weeks.
“When I made my Championship debut I played against Kevin Davies and I didn’t win one header against him. I had a word with Vidic the day after because I was at United for a recovery session and he gave me bits of advice like giving him little nudges before you go up for the header. At that point I was really skinny so that sticks with me.”
Keane’s twin brother, Will, made 10 appearances for Harry Redknapp’s QPR in the Championship last term and he’s been the subject of interrogation from his sibling ahead of the weekend clash.
“I went round to his for dinner and he was speaking to me about a few of their players in case I do play,” he said. “I could get some inside information about Charlie Austin as well.
“We’ve come through the ranks together and always had each other to talk to about how things are going. We’ve always been there to help each other if one of us is struggling.
“He’s starting to do really well now back at United so things are starting to look up for his both with me getting games here. Hopefully one day we can play in the same team again.”
When asked about his future, with his loan spell at Turf Moor set to expire in the New Year, Keane said: “I honestly don’t have a clue. A lot of it will be up to United. We’ll just have to see what happens in the next month or so and speak to them.
“I speak to the reserve team manager Warren Joyce most weeks. He comes to watch my games sometimes as do members of the first team staff. I’ve not been back at United for a while – hopefully I’ll do that soon to have a catch up with them.”