Premier League English

Roy Keane’s “soft spot” for former Man Utd star and teammate he “hated”

Somehow, one can sense that underneath that hard-nosed, tough mean guy exterior, there is a much gentler side lurking within Manchester United’s legendary bad-boy captain Roy Keane.

Keane certainly ran a tight ship inside the Manchester United dressing room during their glory days under Fergie, and not all players in the team got on his good side, for sure.

The Irishman’s recent foray onto Instagram, coupled with his jovial relationship with pundit partner Micah Richards, seem to indicate that there is a possibility the Irishman is beginning to soften just a little and showing glimpses of a softer inside, despite his regular barrage of scyth-like quips and vitriolic criticisms saying otherwise.

It now actually seems that United’s old barndoor skipper has always been a gentle soul at heart – with one of his ex-teammates, at least. And few would have predicted that out of all his colleagues in the United dressing room that none other than Phil Neville was Keane’s favoured member of the team.

That assessment is according to Phil Neville anyhow.

“He actually turned up to my wedding… and he would never turn up to anyone else’s wedding.

“He turned up to mine and had a good time – and his kids went to school with my kids.

“Every time I see him now, I think ‘he has a little bit of a soft spot for me’.”

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for brother Gary, who seemed to enjoy being on the wrong side of Keane.

Phil added: “I think because he hated Gary so much – he used to fight with Gary every day – he saw me as the nice one.”

Much of Keane’s attitude can be attributed to his unrelenting desire to win, which proved to be a key backbone of United’s phenomenal success under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Yet, surprisingly behind closed doors, his demeanor was very different from that of the growling menace on the pitch, as former United teammate Eric Djemba Djemba fondly recalls.

“In the dressing room, he [Keane] was a good guy. He was very affectionate,” Djemba-Djemba told The Sun.

“But on the pitch…. If you had a gun, you’d want to shoot him. He’d insult you, he’d say anything and everything.

“As soon as the game was finished, he was a different person. I preferred Keane in the dressing room rather than on the pitch. He was like that because he wanted to win.

“Sometimes I’d wear a diamond earring and Keane would say to me, ‘What is this?’ So before I got to the dressing room I removed it because I didn’t want him to see it.

“I remember he used to shout at Kleberson, who was a very quiet guy who never spoke and was always laughing.

“Keane would always shout at him, ‘Wake up, you’re not in Brazil now on the Copacabana. Run!’”