Richard Keys isn’t a fan of Roy Keane – which kind of makes us regret calling him a prick – but the former Manchester United captain is certainly great value. Kyle Walker is not the only player to feel his wrath.
Here are just a few of his most cutting lines…
‘Sick and disgusted’ with De Gea and Maguire
Roy clearly had some pent-up frustration to get off his chest after lockdown. At half-time of United’s first game back after the restart, a 1-1 draw at Spurs, he unloaded on United’s rearguard after they allowed Steven Bergwijn a soft opener.
“I’m fuming watching this. I can’t believe Manchester United, I can’t believe Luke Shaw heading the ball and running forward.
“I am staggered at Maguire, staggered that an international player can just get done by this.
“I am sick to death of this goalkeeper. I’d be fighting him at half-time. I’d be swinging punches at that guy.
“It’s a standard save for an established international goalkeeper. I am flabbergasted.
“Maguire and De Gea… I wouldn’t even let them on the bus after the match. Get a taxi back to Manchester.
“Shocking! Maguire, I am disgusted with him and De Gea. You should hang your heads in shame.”
Ni hao, Roy
Maguire and De Gea got off lightly compared to Ashley Young when he was being accused of diving in 2015.
“I think the guy’s a disgrace.
“If he’s a Man Utd player, then I’m a Chinaman.
‘Constantly disappointing’ Spurs
Roy has never made much of Spurs’ strength of character. He referenced Sir Alex Ferguson’s famously disparaging “lads, it’s Tottenham” line in his book and, at the end of last season, after a 0-0 draw at Bournemouth, he stuck the knife in once more.
“That’s in Tottenham’s DNA, they will constantly disappoint you. The table doesn’t lie, ninth, that’s where they deserve to be.”
Gary Neville tried to be reasonable in the face of Jesse Lingard launching a clothing line in the run-up to a December 2018 trip to Liverpool – the final nail in Jose Mourinho’s coffin – but Roy wasn’t having it.
“If there was a good, strong dressing room that would not be tolerated. That is why I worry about the United dressing room. That wouldn’t be tolerated in a good dressing room. For a young player, who is still learning his trade.
“Again, he could be the nicest kid in the world, I don’t know the lad. But if you are coming out with all that nonsense, people say you should have other stuff outside of football, I don’t think you should!
“I think football should be your number one priority. It should be. Focus on the game, don’t hide behind your cars, or your tattoos or your girlfriends or your agent, play the game.”
‘Big problem’ Pogba
One of many Manchester United nadirs in recent years came with a 4-0 defeat at Everton in 2019. Pogba was then interviewed by Sky Sports and he called the performance ‘disrespectful’. But his words didn’t wash with Roy…
“I wouldn’t believe a word he says. There’s no meaning behind it. I don’t even think he believed what he was saying there.
“He talks about being a good team-mate – if you’re going to be a good team-mate then you need to run back when you’re defending.
“He said it got a bit heated after the game against Everton – I heard they were actually throwing their hair gel at each other!
“The guy’s a talented boy but we’re saying the same things over and over again. The number of times I’ve seen him in games where he’s not sprinting back or running back…
“He’s talking about body language – he was throwing his arms up in the air. He’s a big problem.”
Adam Lallana was playing in central midfield when Liverpool lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup last season. Roy reckoned Everton would offer a sterner test than the Reds simply because Lallana wasn’t in their midfield.
“I think Everton in a strange way will be a tougher test than the Liverpool game. Because I think Lallana was in midfield the other night for Liverpool. I know my daughter’s probably stronger than him.”
Hugging and kissing
You wouldn’t have seen Roy all chummy with Liverpool players – or his own wife, probably – before he went into battle…
“You’re going to war. Hugging and kissing, don’t even look at them. You’re going to battle against them.
“The game hasn’t changed that much, the players have. Maybe chat to them after the game. Actually, don’t even chat to them after the game.”
Shaw in a sombrero?
Roy was feeling strangely confident ahead of United’s trip to Anfield back in January. Then one look at Luke Shaw gave him a sinking feeling…
“When I see Shaw coming back into the team… the nearer we’re getting to kick-off, the more worried I’m getting,”
“I was fine about two hours ago.
“But when I see the players getting warmed up in silly hats…”
Roy Keane is not the biggest Luke Shaw fan
🗣”When I see people like Shaw coming back into the team, The more I look at the players warming up with their silly hats. I’m worried” 🤣 pic.twitter.com/JzVV1apFfU
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 19, 2020
Liverpool ‘going nowhere fast’
Liverpool have won the Champions League and Premier League in the last 18 months. But Roy couldn’t see it happening back in 2017 after they had won a Champions League group game…
“It’s hard to get excited about them. To me, they are going nowhere fast.
“They’re neat and tidy, but defensively… come the end of the season when the prizes are being given out, Liverpool will be nowhere near them.
“If Liverpool were playing out in my back garden, I wouldn’t watch them. They’re just drifting. Drifting nowhere.”
Roy has never needed words to make his point. His reaction to Jamie Carragher leaving Ryan Giggs out of a Liverpool/Man Utd combined XI said it all…
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) February 18, 2020
‘Almost won a title’
While comparing Manchester United’s predicament with Liverpool while they were rebuilding, Carragher – not unreasonably – referenced the time he came closest to a title winner’s medal with the Reds…
“You said almost won a title, you DIDN’T win a title” 🤣🤣
That time Roy Keane shut down Jamie Carragher 🍿 pic.twitter.com/gQZjY7GOFf
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) July 22, 2020
After Micah Richards reeled off his list of achievements without being asked, Roy waited a few moments before pulling him up…
"Did you burst on to the scene? Very few defenders burst on to the scene." 👀
Micah Richards reflects on his emergence, although Roy Keane did not seem to agree! 🤣 pic.twitter.com/EEqFCvac66
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 8, 2020
Dumb and Dumber
Danny Rose and Serge Aurier copped it after Spurs’ 2-1 defeat at Liverpool last season…
“The two Tottenham full-backs. Dreadful.
“Dumb and Dumber I’d call them.
“I thought they were really poor, you cannot compare them to the two Liverpool lads who were absolutely fantastic.
“I thought they were a joke, really abysmal.”
Roy wasn’t done with Rose. A few weeks later after an England defeat…
'Someone's got to get hold of that guy. Abysmal. Shocking'
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) October 11, 2019
‘What are you all staring at?’
Roy rates Harry Kane rather more. So much so that he advocated for United to go and sign him. ‘Easy’, apparently…
"Go and get Kane from Spurs, it's easy. What are you all staring at?" 😳
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 20, 2019
At half-time of Everton’s 1-1 draw with United, Jordan Pickford’s contribution was being questioned, with some statistical evidence…
“I don’t need to say the stats, I know he’s not a good goalkeeper.
We said it before the game, he’s not up to it.”
(Souness mentions that Pickford is the England No.1)
“I don’t care. He is not a good goalkeeper.”
Roma’s defending against Liverpool in 2018 didn’t impress Roy in 2018. Even 24 hours on, he was still fuming…
“If I played like some of their defenders did in that game last night, I would consider retiring from football.
“I really would. Shameful.”
Jack Wilshere had the misfortune to be captaining Arsenal when Roy saw them lose to Ostersund in 2018…
“To me the most overrated player on the planet.”
He revisited the subject a few weeks later.
“Listen, maybe people think I have been harsh on him, but I have never been a big fan.
“For an attacking player, he doesn’t get enough goals, he doesn’t get enough assists.
“The guy’s career is drifting. As bad as Arsenal were, he was really bad.
“Has he been offered a contract? If I was him I’d sign it quickly because if he thinks he is going to be getting big offers in the summer I’d be surprised.”
Roy wasn’t having Kieran Gibbs as captain material either…
“When I see Gibbs with the captain’s armband on at the end of the game, you are in big trouble.
“If he’s your captain or leader, if he’s the guy that’s going to bring everyone together, you are in huge trouble.”
Mourinho had a rant in 2017 when he complained after a Europa League tie that Manchester United had “a lot of enemies” and as a result of fixture congestion they would “probably lose on Sunday” at Middlesbrough.
Roy had no sympathy.
“I’ve never heard so much rubbish in my life.
“Why did we have to listen to that garbage? It’s just utter nonsense.
“He’s manager of Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs on the planet – the squad he’s got, the players, and he keeps moaning about fixtures and fatigue.
“We were looking at some of the cup draws they have had. They have had an easy ride in the cups, a lot of good draws, a lot of home draws.
“The guy is talking absolute nonsense. I never heard such rubbish in all my life.
“Maybe the club is too big for him. He can’t deal with all these demands of the match – what matches? Cup competitions? Man Utd reserves could have won that game tonight.
“Sick to death of him.”
‘Not my cup of tea’
Keane was never a huge Jose fan. Upon his appointment, this was his reaction…
“He’s got a fantastic CV and it seems like a good fit.
“Maybe not for me. he’s not my cup of tea.
“I’ve found him really irritating when I’ve coached against him.”
Diego Costa was giving Chelsea grief back in 2018. For Keane there was only one solution…
“They are better off without him. The guy is obviously big trouble.
“I know he’s done well for them but he looks to me like a bit of a balloon.
“Get rid of him.”
Queiroz’s lucky escape
Keane worked with Carlos Queiroz for a long time at Manchester United and the former skipper rates the Portuguese as a coach. That wouldn’t have saved him from a mauling, mind…
“His second spell when he came back, towards the end of my time there I found him really disrespectful towards me.
“We had a bit of a fall-out. He questioned my loyalty and I told him where to go.
“One of my big regrets really is I probably should have ripped his head off.
“But, excellent coach.”