Ex-PNE duo in Europa League squad

Striker Will Keane scored five goals for United Under-21s on Monday night
Striker Will Keane scored five goals for United Under-21s on Monday night
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Former Preston North End loan players Will Keane and Sam Johnstone have been named in Manchester United’s Europa League squad.

Clubs taking part in the competition have to register a squad with UEFA, with United taking on Danish side Midtjylland after dropping out of the Champions League.

Keane continued his scoring form for United’s Under-21s when netting five goals in their 7-0 win over Norwich City at Old Trafford on Monday.

It took his tally for the second string to 10 goals in six games since he returned from his loan spell with North End at the start of January.

Johnstone is one of three keepers included in the Europa League squad following the end of his 28-day loan with the Lilywhites.

Keane was on a season-long loan at Deepdale but asked United to cut it short and exercise a recall clause in the hope of forcing his way into Louis van Gaal’s plans.

But his only inclusion in the first-team squad since was as an unused substitute in last month’s FA Cup tie against Sheffield United. He has found his goal touch in Warren Joyce’s Under-21s side though.

His five-goal haul against Norwich included a first-half hat-trick, while his fourth goal was a sublime chip at the end of a run which had taken him past two defenders.

Such form has seen Keane tipped to get a run-out in the two-legged clash with Midtylland.

During his time at North End, 23-year-old Keane struggled for goals.

He scored twice in 22 games, against Crewe in the Capital One Cup and at Burnley in December.

Keane’s performances showed an improvement in the last month of the loan, his final appearance being the 1-0 victory over Hull on December 28.

Keane was linked in the media at the weekend with a move to Hull – managed by former United defender Steve Bruce – there being a possibility that the Red Devils will listen to bids for him in the summer.

The Championship leaders recently took midfielder Nick Powell on loan from United to strengthen their promotion push.