The second-most popular vote at centre-back, with 29.2% of the vote, Richard Keogh slots into the heart of the Team of the Decade defence, alongside Jordan Willis.
Arriving from Carlisle United in the summer of 2010, Richard Keogh was the kind of young, hungry and improving player that Ray Ranson and SISU had been looking to build the team around. However, it was a transfer that already looked out of step with the direction the club was heading in following Chris Coleman’s departure as manager and a winding down of investment in the playing squad.
Initially playing at right-back, Richard Keogh quickly won fans over with the energy and application that he put into his performances. As part of a mountainous back four under new manager, Aidy Boothroyd’s, management, the Sky Blues started the season surprisingly well before dramatically losing form around the turn of the year.
Boothroyd’s departure allowed Keogh to demonstrate that he was more of a natural at centre-back than full-back. Mobile and with a good reading of the game, Keogh looked something more than the energetic and functional player he was at right-back, perhaps signalling that he was a player worth building the defence around.
However, that move to centre-back also coincided with our relegation from the Championship. With the rest of the team struggling to impose itself on games, Keogh, and the rest of the defence, soon found themselves overwhelmed with attempting to limit the opposition. Having initially looked like a calm and composed presence at the back, Keogh soon became more closely associated with manic blocks as a result of throwing his body on the line for the cause.
In just two seasons at the club, Keogh made an indelible impact despite playing in what was otherwise a period most Coventry City would want to forget. As someone who has gone on to prove that they were capable of being a stellar performer in the Championship, it is tempting to wonder what could have been had Keogh arrived at the club when it was in a better state both on and off the pitch.
Nonetheless, there’s something to be said for the player that continues to put in their best efforts in the face of just about everything around them not working. That, in addition to being one of the outright most talented defenders of recent history, is why he is part of this Team of the Decade.