HE'S a hard man when it comes to business on the pitch, but soccer legend Roy Keane has a softer side.
The Republic of Ireland's new assistant manager has admitted he couldn't choose between his dogs and the sport that gave him a lengthy career.
He told how he feels more relaxed in the presence of his two pet pooches.
"When I'm out walking my dogs I'm really at ease with myself.
"The health benefits are huge, they're good for my health, good for my head. Having a dog in your house makes it a home."
Keane is calling on families to support Irish Guide Dogs this Christmas and has commended the organisation for its efforts in improving the lives of people with blindness around the country.
The retired Manchester United player has been a patron of the charity since 2001.
"Irish Guide Dogs appealed to me because it is such a great cause. I love dogs; it's based in Cork and they asked me.
"To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to last this long but that tells you how well it's gone and how much I enjoy what I do," he said.
"It's just amazing what the dogs do, they give people independence. People can go on holidays, they can go to the shops; these dogs are giving people back their life."
Speaking to the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind annual magazine 'Guidelines', the Cork native said that he was most at ease when spending time with his pets.
Download a copy of 'Guidelines' magazine at www.guidedogs.ie or by calling 1850 506300.