Roy Keane: Man Utd legend's reaction to praise from Sir Alex Ferguson remembered

  • Rob Swan

Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane was the dream manager-captain combo for Manchester United during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Ferguson didn’t need to keep his players in line half the time because his talismanic skipper did that particular job for him.

Keane demanded 100 per cent effort from each and every one of his United teammates, both in games and even during training sessions. If they fell below those standards, the Irishman would come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Keane played 480 games under Ferguson over the course of 12 years and helped United win a host of major honours, including seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League.

Sadly, though, the relationship between Ferguson and Keane fell apart in 2005 and they’ve barely said a word to each other since.


Keane and Ferguson fell out in 2005

Following a bust-up with Ferguson in November 2005 over an infamous MUTV interview, Keane’s glittering United spell was abruptly brought to a shock end.

Fergie would later write about Keane in his 2013 autobiography: “The hardest part of Roy’s body is his tongue. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine.

“He can debilitate the most confident person in the world in seconds. He was an intimidating, ferocious individual.”

Ferguson praised Keane’s performance vs Juventus

However, there will surely always be a huge part of Ferguson that is immensely grateful to Keane for his incredible contribution between 1993-2005.

Performances like his remarkable individual display against Juventus in the 1999 Champions League semi-finals against Juventus can never be forgotten.

Ferguson said of that performance: “Pounding every blade of grass, competing as if would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt as if it were an honour to be associated with this player.”

Keane’s response to Ferguson’s praise

Keane, speaking for an ITV documentary, responded to Ferguson’s heartfelt praise in a way that completely summed up the former midfielder.

“Stuff like that almost insults me,” Keane said. “What am I supposed to do? Give up? Not cover every blade of grass? Not do my best for my teammates? Not do my best for my club?

“To be honest, I actually get offended when people throw quotes like that at me as if I’m supposed to be honoured by it.


“It’s like praising the postman for delivering your letters. He’s supposed to, isn’t he? That’s his job.

“My job is to try and win football matches for Man United.”

Watch Keane’s response here…

Vintage Roy Keane. It won’t come as a surprise to most to discover that he can’t take a compliment.

The man is such a winner that even praise from the great Sir Alex Ferguson offends him.

But it was this unique mindset that helped him become so successful. Keane never rested on his laurels and wasn’t about to start patting himself on the back for career-defining performances like the one in Turin.

(Credit: The Football Terrace)

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