Danny Mills has tipped Michael Keane to play some of the best football of his career in the new season after the defender signed a blockbuster long-term contract at Everton.

The former Leeds United right-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that the 27-year-old struggled at times last season but will be an integral player for the Toffees this year if he can replicate his best form.

The club announced on Sunday that the England international had put pen to paper on a new five-year contract, 24 hours after the news was exclusively revealed by Football Insider.

Keane played every minute of ‘Project Restart’ and scooped multiple man of the match awards as he established himself as a key member of Carlo Ancelotti’s defence.

Mills hailed the improvement of the former Burnley centre-back in the latter stages of the season.

“Everton do not have a huge amount of centre-halves to pick from or a huge amount of experience in defence,” he told Football Insider. “They had a number of injury problems last season and it has difficult for them to find a partnership that works.

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“Michael Keane came back. He had a tricky spell at the start of the season, especially under Marco Silva, he struggled. But under Ancelotti he has started to become more consistent.

“Now he may come into the new season with renewed vigour. If he can find the attitude and level of performance that he showed in the latter stages of the season he can become that reliable player.”

Speaking to the club’s media, Keane said: “I have loved my three years at Everton and am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

“I am learning every day on the training pitch with the manager and all his staff. They have been brilliant… The manager is one of the best there has been.”

In other Everton news, Kevin Phillips reveals concern as star heads for reported medical.