Keane is included in the Villa squad after signing on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy until the end of February. Manager McLeish is refusing to reveal whether the Republic of Ireland international will start but has no doubt he will have a positive influence at Villa.
He said: “In terms of the impact Robbie will have, he will have a great effect.
“His experience and knowledge in the dressing room should be worth its weight in gold. In my playing career, bringing players into a club of that ilk was a case of not only looking for individuals to do well but looking for others to be inspired. Hopefully Robbie can push others to play their best football and I also think there’s no bigger threat than someone coming in to take your place.
“Robbie could make his debut but I am not going to reveal my starting line-up at the moment.”
McLeish will hope Keane can help Villa put an end to a run of four successive home defeats if he is involved against Everton. He said: “Desperate is a word I don’t like to use but the home form certainly is something we want to put right.”
McLeish admits he is unlikely to add further to his squad during January unless players head out of the club.
He said: “It’s a case of keeping and steering the ship in the right direction in terms of the wages. We have a clear vision through Randy Lerner [club owner] and Paul Faulkner [chief executive] that we have to manage the wages.”