Leicester City loan ignings Michael Keane and Jesse Lingard: Profiles
Manchester United duo Michael Keane and Jesse Lingard are on the radar of Leicester City, it is understood.
City boss Nigel Pearson is believed to be interested in signing the pair, both aged 19, on a loan deal.
Michael Keane, twin brother of young United striker Will, made his debut against Aldershot in last season's League Cup.
The teenage defender first joined United in July 2009, when he became part of the esteemed under-18s squad. He and his brother celebrated their 16th birthdays with the news they had both been awarded a schoolboy scholarship with the Red Devils.
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Michael Keane made his debut for the Reserves in April 2010, in a match against Wigan. Initially a full-back, Keane quickly established himself as a key player in the FA Youth Cup-winning team of 2011.
In September 2011 Keane, who was born in England but through his Irish father is eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland team, rejected a call-up to the Ireland under-19 squad for Euro 2012 qualifiers.
And in January this year he revealed he had chosen to represent England at international level. He told Inside United: “I’ve just made a change. Hopefully I’ll be playing for England in February.
“The Under-19s have got a friendly against Czech Republic and I’ve been told that, hopefully, I’ll be involved in that.”
January also saw Keane agree a loan deal with Belgian club Royal Antwerp. But just a few days later it emerged the central defender had opted to stay in Manchester.
In May, Keane was named the Reserve Player of the Year for 2012. The official club website reported: “Fearless in defence and comfortable on the ball, Keane has established himself at centre-back for Warren Joyce’s side this season, having arrived at the club as a full-back.”
This spring Keane and his brother Will were selected in England U19's UEFA European Championship qualifiers against Slovenia, Montenegro and Switzerland. The national press likened them to Gary and Phil Neville.
In June it emerged Hull City were hopeful of signing Keane, who made 27 appearances in all competitions for the second string in 2011/12, scoring five goals.
He has made two appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson's side this season, featuring in the Capital One cup clashes against Newcastle and Chelsea.
Meanwhile Warrington-born Jesse Lingard has been on United's books since he was seven. In the years that followed he shone for both the Under-18s and the Reserves.
He steadily progressed through the ranks, scoring a number of goals in pre-season for 2011/2012.
Lingard made it on to a three-man shortlist for the Reserve Player of the Year award, and was handed a first-team shirt number during the 2011/12 campaign for both the Barclays Premier League and Champions League.
He was on the bench as an unused substitute for the Carling Cup defeat to Crystal Palace in November 2011, as well as the Premier League loss at Newcastle United in January this year.
In July 2012, Lingard made his debut in United's 1-0 win against AmaZulu – a performance the official club website said “suggests he could feel at home in the first team”.
The young forward told MUTV afterwards: "Training and playing with them [the first team] is a great, new experience for me and hopefully I can carry it on.
“It's all come so quickly, you know, and I've developed better than everyone assumed I would and kicked on from there.”
That month Lingard spoke of the hours he had to put in to improve his performance. He told the official club website: "A lot of my progression can be put down to hard work.
“I've been hitting the gym a lot and I went away this summer to America where I did a lot of speed work and extra training. It's all paid off in what seems like a matter of months."
Lingard also said he felt ready for a loan move. He told the official club website: “Initially, I didn’t want to go on loan as I will miss the lads here despite it being good experience.
“But there are things like I can’t cook whatsoever. I’ve got to be independent and learn how to grow up, so now it’d be a good experience for me to go out on loan.”
Give Me Football reported earlier this year the “considerable buzz” about Lingard at Old Trafford, with the youngster being likened to Barcelona star Xavi.
The club website describes him as “a clever and assured finisher, he is capable of mixing the spectacular finish with clinical, well-placed shots, he causes problems for defenders with his direct running.
“A hard worker who always tracks back for the team, it's likely he will be heading out on loan”.