By Noel Whelan

12th Oct, 2019 | 12:23pm

'Abysmal' - Exclusive: Whelan slaughters 'Pathetic' Everton player after int'l display

Everton defender Michael Keane has been “abysmal” for club and country in recent weeks.

That is the verdict of ex-Leeds United and Coventry City striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider following the centre-back’s performance in England’s 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic last night.

Keane was surprisingly given the nod to partner Harry Maguire in central defence and struggled as Gareth Southgate’s side slumped to a shock loss.

The 26-year-old has also had a difficult start to the season for Everton, who went into the international break in the relegation zone after four consecutive Premier League defeats.

“I’ve watched Keane’s positioning and it’s been abysmal,” Whelan told Football Insider. “Everton can’t defend set pieces and he’s meant to be one of their best in the air.

“The zonal marking system has been a disaster but Keane has to deal with it better. It’s baffling how he didn’t deal with balls into the box better against Burnley.

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“He is a professional player, an international player. It was pathetic defending. If he doesn’t see the problem, there is something wrong.

“We’ve seen a lot of that from him this season. I have no idea how he’s still in the England side.”

Keane has started all eight of Everton’s league matches this season, with Yerry Mina his new regular centre-back partner.

The expensive pair have struggled to form an understanding and the Toffees have conceded 13 goals from eight matches.

In other Everton news, it can be REVEALED that the club are ready to sell a player at a £17million loss in January.