MICHAEL Keane would jump at the chance to re-sign for Blackburn Rovers next season if Manchester United choose to send him back out on loan to the Championship.
The versatile young defender will return to managerless United this week after bringing the curtain down on a highly successful two-month loan stay at Ewood Park.
The 21-year-old will wait for the Old Trafford club to appoint a successor to the sacked David Moyes before weighing up his next move.
It is understood that United could send Keane out on loan to a fellow Premier League outfit in order to give him his first taste of top-flight football.
But should they decide to offer him up to Championship clubs for the third season running the England U21 international would make it clear that Rovers would be his preferred destination.
Keane, who has one year remaining on his United contract, said: “First things first I need to go back to Manchester United this week and see who becomes the new manager.
“I’ll then have to speak to whoever that is and take it from there really.
“But if I was to come back to the Championship I would definitely consider Blackburn because the club has been great for me and I seriously think next year we’ll be pushing for promotion.
“I came here to get regular games and I’m thankful to the manager for giving me the opportunity to do that. Hopefully I’ve earned my place.
“I’ve had a great time, I’ve really enjoyed myself, and if things don’t work out next season at Manchester United and I don’t get a chance there, I’d look to come on loan again.”
Keane, whose three senior appearances for United have all come in the League Cup, lost his first two games in a Rovers shirt – including a painful East Lancashire derby defeat to Burnley on his debut.
But he was not on the losing side again as Gary Bowyer’s resurgent team went on a 12-match unbeaten run which culminated in a thrilling 4-3 home win over Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
The win was not enough to stop Rovers from missing out on the play-offs by two points.
But Keane believes they will be strong contenders for promotion next season – with or without him.
“It was good to beat Wigan and finish the season on a high and send the fans home happy,” said Keane, who previously had loan spells at Rovers’ Championship rivals Derby County and Leicester City.
“We’ve become really consistent and if we can continue that form into next season, and have a full season playing like that, we’ll definitely be up there.”
As well as impressing at centre back and right back Keane has also proved a real threat in the opposition box.
He finished the season with three goals in 13 matches for free-scoring Rovers, all of which came away from home against Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic.
Keane said: “The goals have been a nice bonus.
“The deliveries here are great and it feels like every time we get a set-piece I’ve got a chance of scoring.”