ROY Keane was “naïve” to believe he wouldn't fall out with Alex Ferguson after the Manchester United manager felt he could no longer “do his stuff,” John Giles has said.
The TV pundit and former Irish football star said that all football managers needed to have a ruthless streak.
But he said that most players had to believe that falling out of favour with the manager was something that would never happen to them - otherwise they would become cynical.
A feud has been brewing between the two after Keane called the account of his leaving Old Trafford in Mr Ferguson's autobiography “nonsense” and “wrong”.
Mr Giles was speaking about the sometimes difficult relationship between managers and players at an event hosted by Trinity College Dublin to celebrate his receipt of an honorary doctorate.
“If you take Alex Ferguson and his dealings with players and you take Roy Keane, which is the famous one.
“His relationship with Roy Keane would have been very, very close when Roy Keane was doing his stuff.
“The only time he'd fall out with Roy Keane was when he felt he could no longer do it. And that's the ruthless streak that all managers have to have,” Mr Giles said.
“Unfortunately most of the players, and I think I'd include Roy Keane in this, would be naïve enough to believe that it doesn't happen to them.
“All players have to believe that or else you'd be too cynical, you wouldn't be able to do your stuff. But that's what happens,” he added.
Mr Giles was giving a talk on the history of football and his experience of playing the game in the 50s and 60s.
He also spoke about the difficulties facing players at a time when there was a maximum wage of £20 a week.