June 20, 2024

Roy Keane – A Great Footballer


There have been so many superlatives used to describe Roy Keane’s ability and performances on the football pitch it is difficult to come up with an original commentary on his brilliance. Sometimes his commitment and will to win, almost at any cost, overshadowed the man’s footballing ability. His style of play was very understated in some ways but there is no doubt that his ability to consistently pick and play the right pass, at the right time, with the right weight, to the right player was unmatched by any of his peers.

Before the ravages of his injuries caught up with him his stamina, athleticism, his soccer skills, and one of the sharpest football brains, made him the most complete midfield player of his generation. No other playerhad the combination of footballing attributes that Roy Keane had. Certainly none of his peers achieved the same levels of relentless consistency that he managed throughout his career.The following is a range of views expressed by a wide variety of players, mangers and football pundits on Keane’s soccer prowess:

Steve Bruce on Roy Keane

I’m not sure whom he [Sir Alex Ferguson] regards as his best-ever signing at Old Trafford but there can’t have been one better than Keano.

Sir Alex Ferguson talking to Sky Sports in 2004

“He is my best player. It’s not just the quality of his game, it is also his influence and great determination. There are a lot of parts to making a great player – he has fulfilled them all.”

Sir Alex Ferguson – February 2005

“When you are talking about Manchester United 30 or 500 years from now, Roy Keane will be regarded as one of the greatest players ever at this club”

Former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy

“Roy will always be remembered as the greatest player who’s played for the club. His leadership and quality of play and his character will always be within us, because I worked with him and trained with him for four and a half years and he was the best player I ever played with …”

David Beckham talking to PA Sport on Keane’s departure from Manchester United

“He is a player who will lead from the front and get a team going. He is also a player who will tell you when you have done something wrong and something right. You know where you stand with him, he’ll tell you in his own special way. I think he had one of the biggest impacts on a club anyone could have. The players responded to him in every game. I am shocked he has left because I thought he would be there for a few more years, but he has made his decision and everyone will respect that. People now have to look at what he has done with Manchester United because in the last 12 years he has won everything there is to win in club football. He has done it, gaining respect from so many players that he has played with and against.”

Former midfield adversary and ex-Arsenal player Patrick Viera in December 2008 when asked name the best player he ever played against

“For me, being in England for nine years, I would have said Roy Keane. (He) is really tough, really strong, but he was fair. “What I like about him is the fact that he would not talk, he would take the kick, he would not say anything, then, on the next one, he would give it to you and he would expect, of course, that you say nothing. “He’s not the kind of player who talks a lot. So he’ll take the kick, he will give back, but I like him – he’s quite fair.”

Former Manchester United and England legend Bobby Charlton compared Roy Keane to Duncan Edwards who had been tragically killed in the Munich air disaster. Bobby Charlton believed that Duncan Edwards was even better than the great Pele.

“…as a player and a competitor [Keane is] the nearest I’ve seen in my lifetime to Duncan Edwards”

Former Arsenal and French international footballer Thierry Henry had this to say about Roy Keane.

“…he is a super footballer. He scores, he influences his team and the crowd. He’ll be respected for ever. He is a football legend with the Republic of Ireland and Manchester United.”

Former Liverpool FC great and BBC soccer pundit Alan Hansen described Roy Keane as follows:

“[Keane] was in a class of his own in his peak…the best player the Premiership has seen.”

This what Sir Alex Ferguson had to say in his autobiography about Roy Keane’s performance in the 1999 second leg of the Champions League semi-final in Turin.

“I did not think I could have a higher opinion of any footballer than I already had of the Irishman but he rose even further in my estimation at the Stadio Delle Alpi. The minute he was booked and out of the final, he seemed to redouble his efforts to get the team there. It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field. Pounding over every blade of grass, competing as if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player.”

Andy Gray made the following comments following the 0-3 win by Manchester United over Juventus on 25 February 2003.

“I came away from Turin that night convinced that I would never see a better performance from an English club on foreign soil – or a more motivated display from a captain. But I was wrong. The performance in the Stadio Delle Alpi on Tuesday night was even more devastating than the one in 1999. And to complete a double over one of Europe’s best sides was quite incredible. OK, United rode their luck a bit at times, but you always need a little bit of good fortune when you take on Juventus in Turin. Keane, in a different way to 1999, gave another master class in leadership. His example seemed to rub off on the other players and they all looked relaxed and confident playing on one of the biggest stages in world football.”

Former Manchester United collleague and Dutch international Jaap Stam had this to say in his autobiography about Keane.

“Keane is an incredible player, a real one-off whose name would be the first on the team-sheet of any side. It’s not just the fact that he wins every tackle, or the way he can drive a team on with his powerful running, and snappy passing; with Roy there’s something more, a desperation to win that drags the whole team with him”

Roy Keane & Cork

Back to Saipan Affair Table of Contents

Irish Football

© 2009-2018 Soccer-Ireland.com. All rights reserved
All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without prior written permission. No permission will be withheld to any reasonable requests.
Please contact Soccer-Ireland.com

Saipan Table of Contents Roy Keane & Eamon Dunphy
Saipan Introduction Roy Keane & Cork
Methodology Keane’s Aversion to Being Away From Home
Saipan Conclusions Roy Keane’s Relationship with Ireland
Roy Keane – Mick McCarthy Relationship Roy Keane – Zenith Data Systems Cup
Roy Keane Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Jack Charlton Relationship
Mick McCarthy Version of Saipan Incident 1 Roy Keane’s Flawed Character
Mick McCarthy Account of Saipan Incident 2 Roy Keane’s Good Character
Niall Quinn Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Footballer
Jason McAteer Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Team Captain
Matt Holland Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Family Man
Roy Keane & Saipan – The Backdrop Roy Keane & Faking Injury
Roy Keane & Saipan – The Issues Roy Keane – Bad Boy
Keane / McCarthy Boston Row 1992 Roy Keane – Career Lows
Keane Misses Iran Playoff Game Roy Keane – Red Cards
Keane Misses Niall Quinn Testimonial Roy Keane – Cruciate Injury
Countdown to Saipan Incident Roy Keane & Alf-Inge Haaland
Roy Keane Saipan Tirade at Mick McCarthy Roy Keane & Gareth Southgate Red Card
Roy Keane / Tom Humphries Saipan Interview 1 Roy Keane & Alan Shearer Red Card
Keane / Humphries Saipan Interview 2 Roy Keane / Alex Ferguson Relationship 1
Roy Keane / Irish Times Saipan Interview 3 Roy Keane & Sir Alex Ferguson 2
Roy Keane / Paul Kimmage Saipan Interview 1 Roy Keane & Charity
Keane / Kimmage Saipan Interview 2 Roy Keane & Autobiography Contradictions
Roy Keane / Sunday Independent Saipan Interview 3 Roy Keane & Contradictions
Roy Keane / Tommie Gorman Interview 1 Roy Keane – Integrity
Roy Keane / Tommy Gorman Interview 2 Roy Keane – International Matches
Roy Keane / RTE Interview 3 Roy Keane – Football Record
FAI Involvement in Saipan Affair Roy Keane & Sandwiches
Saipan Reaction of Irish Players Roy Keane – Walker
Mick McCarthy – ‘crap player, crap manager’ Saipan – Pacific Island
Roy Keane / Mick McCarthy Playing Record I Keano – The Musical
Colin Healy – Forgotten Man of Saipan Roy Keane – Football Manager
Saipan Ten Years Later Roy Keane’s Dog Triggs
Roy Keane’s Autobiography Saipan Bibiliography


Roy Keane – View Seven Years After Saipan
Football Quotes on Saipan


Triggs – The Autobiography of Roy Keane’s Dog
Ireland at 2002 World Cup Finals – Irish 2002 World Cup Squad – Irish Group Matches
Ireland V Cameroon – Ireland V Germany – Ireland V Saudi Arabia – Ireland V Spain