Martin Keown: No regrets over Van Nistelrooy incident

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Retired Arsenal defender Martin Keown does not regret his infamous altercation with former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The ex-England international, who left Arsenal in 2004 before retiring a year later, taunted Van Nistelrooy after the Dutchman missed a last-minute penalty at Old Trafford in September 2003.

But while Keown accepts that he should have conducting himself better at the time, he insists that he wouldn't go back and change things if he could.

"You could say what we did was unforgivable, but we jumped up and down around him," he told the Daily Mail. "The media were focussing on that rather than the result, so we had an idea of the ripple effect. I know about role models. There is a way to conduct yourself.

"Yes I could have done far better – and should have. But I can’t take it back and I’m not sure I want to take it back.

"You have to be emotional to be good at what you do – you give all of your character to winning. There is sometimes a line you go over."

Keown received a three-match ban and a £20,000 fine from the Football Association for his behaviour, while teammates Lauren, Ray Parlour, Patrick Vieira and Ashley Cole also received heavy fines.

"We could have paid for a new roof at the FA for the amount we paid in fines over that incident, but I don’t go through my life regretting things," Keown continued. "I make my decisions based on the time, when you don’t have the benefit of hindsight."

Keown, however, says that he now looks back at Van Nistelrooy with "great respect".

"He was probably the best finisher Manchester United have had," he added. "But he got what he got then because we’d had enough of him."

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Manchester United
Martin Keown
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Premier League

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