Roy Keane is known as one of the most ‘old school’ footballers to have ever graced the game.
The former midfielder played 471 times for Manchester United, scoring 51 goals for the club and is best known for his blunt, no-nonsense personality.
And it’s fair to say that many would not dare to cross the Irishman, whose conventional stance on how the game should be played resonated through to how he chose to ‘rarely’ engage with some of his younger teammates in the dressing room.
One incident that sparked a debate about his former teammates involved a young Wayne Rooney who arrived at the club during Keane’s final years at Old Trafford.
In 2018, Rooney was a guest on Monday Night Football and hilariously recounted how he had tried to earn the respect of the 50-year-old by ruffling his feathers the night before a game against Newcastle.
“We were watching the rugby before we were playing Newcastle United away and he went to get some food,” Rooney told Jamie Carragher and David Jones.
“So I put the X Factor on and I hid the remote. He wasn’t happy about it and we had an argument.
“But I think straight away he respected me more for it. I think he respects the fact that I was big enough to have a go back at him.”
But a few years later, the 50-year-old had his say on the incident, dismissing Rooney’s claim that they were having any sort of an argument while also stating that he never understood the banter of many of United’s younger players.
“We certainly didn’t have an argument, let me tell ya,” Keane said to Gary Neville, Carragher, and Jones on Sky Sports’ Football Show back in 2020.
“Yeah, I like my rugby league, and yeah, someone did change the channel, and I wasn’t happy. The next day I came down from breakfast and Wayne said to me, ‘Did you find the controls?’
“And I told him where to go. So if that’s an argument, god help us.”
While many would see it as a harmless prank, Keane didn’t get the banter of some of his younger teammates like Rooney or Rio Ferdinand, and that created a bit of disparity between him and the rest of his playing cohort.
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“I certainly didn’t respect Wayne because he stood up to me because he wanted to watch the X Factor or whatever he wanted to watch,” he joked.
“I had a lot of respect for Wayne anyway because I thought he was a brilliant player.
“I wouldn’t say I warmed to the guy, I certainly didn’t dislike him, but lads are on a different wavelength and if hiding the controls was their type of banter, then it’s not for me.
“We’re talking about the pressures of the game and you have people who are arguing about the X Factor.”
Take a look at the hilarious interview in the video below…
Vintage Roy Keane.
But what’s more telling about the story is Keane’s recount of how the dressing room dynamics changed during his later years at the club.
While the Sky Sports pundit is no stranger to criticising the off-field actions of modern-day footballers, it appears that he never properly gelled with some of his younger teammates during his playing days for similar reasons.
He said: “Towards the end, I remember thinking with some of these lads, I don’t get their banter, I don’t get their humour. I probably very rarely had a conversation with any of them.
“I was constantly looking at the bigger picture, which was whether they were going to be good players for Man United. And that was the most important thing.
“Even when I left the club, there were a lot of players I actually didn’t miss one bit. The number of times I’d look around the dressing room after training and the amount of players who were on their phones. Whether I’m a bit ‘old school’ or a bit grumpy, I don’t know.
“But in terms of having banter with them, having a cup of tea with them, a coffee or anything like that with them… Nah, forget it.”