Sam Allardyce has backed Everton defender Michael Keane to rediscover his best vein of form ahead of England's World Cup campaign as the 25-year-old's confidence is starting to return.
Keane has experienced a turbulent settling in period on Merseyside after securing his £25m move from Burnley in the summer, where changes in management and playing style has left the defender struggling to adjust to his new surroundings.
The 25-year-old was tipped to use his move to Goodison Park as a springboard for his impressive foundation which was laid at Turf Moor, but it has yet to click into place for Keane.
However, his manager is sympathetic of the adjustments he has had to make in a short space of time and has backed Keane to adapt his style of play moving forward and reap a burst in confidence as a result.
“Everton's style of play is different to Burnley style of play where they play a very good, more compact type of system and use it to make life difficult for the opponent home or away," Allardyce explained to the Telegraph.
Can’t believe Michael Keane left Burnley to join Everton and is now 2 places behind them in the league at the end of February.— Paul (@PauI16_) February 26, 2018
"We have to try and be a little bit more expansive particularly at home and that does leave defenders a little bit more open. You have to learn to deal with that when you play for a club like Everton.
“When you change football clubs and then the club struggles it's how much the player's confidence has been knocked. Slowly, gradually Michael's confidence is coming back.
“There has been a knock in confidence not just with him, but with quite a few players. Lots of players have struggled, not just Michael. Once we finish this season - and I hope we finish as high as we can - the players learn from what happened this season.
"That would be interesting to see how much they have learned when you have had a knock-back - and Michael and many others have had a knock-back."
Keane has made 24 appearances for the Toffees in his debut season for the club and has played a role in keeping nine of Everton's 11 clean sheets this season, where he will look to keep his former side of the scoreboard when the two teams come to blows on Saturday.