Sunday 23 July 2017

'He could take a player down in a second and make you feel so small' - Stephen Elliott talks Roy Keane on LOI Weekly

Former Sunderland manager Roy Keane looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Victoria and Sunderland at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira on July 23, 2008 in Albufeira, Portugal. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Former Sunderland manager Roy Keane looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Victoria and Sunderland at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira on July 23, 2008 in Albufeira, Portugal. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Drogheda United striker Stephen Elliott made a recent appearance on LOI Weekly to discuss a range of matters including his time under current Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane at Sunderland.

Elliott played under Keane for one season at the Black Cats before moving on to Wolverhampton Wanderers in July 2007, and although he may have only played just one season under the former Manchester United captain, Elliott gave a brilliant insight into some of Keane's methods as a manager.

"Roy had his moments," Elliott told LOI Weekly hosts Dan McDonnell and Johnny Ward.

"I think sometimes Roy just used to do things for a reaction in the dressing room. I think I mentioned it before that he took down a tactics board once [with a karate kick] but I’m sure I seen him in the dressing room before the match seeing if he had the power to take it down.

"Sometimes he’d say some things and then he’d contradict himself and you’d be sitting there thinking ‘why is he saying that?’

"I remember one time he came into the dressing room at Sunderland and he was like ‘I’ve not seen any of you make a tackle, I’ve not seen one player have a go at anybody!’

"We came in at halftime of one of the games, I can’t remember who we were playing at the Stadium of Light, but Graham Kavanagh used to live on every word Roy said. He used to love him, so Graham has come in and grabbed Danny Collins by the scruff of the neck and I’m sure Graham was looking at Roy to say ‘look Roy I’ve grabbed him now’.

"Roy was saying ‘what are you bloody doing, let him go!’

"You could see Kav sitting there thinking ‘I don’t understand this guy’ because he wants aggression but I think he wants to be the guy with the aggression."

Elliott has seen the aggression from Keane as both a player and as a manager, and maintains that the former Ireland captain always had an intimidating aura in both roles.

The Drogs forward said that he thinks that Keane is learning more and more about football management in his current role as Martin O'Neill's assistant with the Republic of Ireland national team, but that ultimately, Keane still has a core set of principles that he looks for in any football player.

"He was very intimidating," added Elliott.

"Obviously Roy has this aura about him. When I played with him briefly in the national team that’s all I could think about in the dressing room.

"I was looking over across the dressing room and I was like ‘Jesus there’s Roy Keane’. Whatever you do, if he passes you the ball, do not lose it.

"For me I was a bit in awe of him. It wasn’t too long after the Saipan incident and I was playing under Mick at Sunderland at the time so I was thinking ‘will Mick be happy with me if I start passing him the ball?’

"But he was very intimidating. As a player playing underneath him as a manager he could be very sharp with his tongue. He could take a player down in a second and make you feel so small.

"He wants winners. He wants to see people that don’t shirk duties, he wants people to get on the ball if they’re there to get on the ball, he wants people to make tackles.. he’s very aware of people who hide on the pitch.

"That’s one of his main strengths – he knows if somebody is playing within themselves and if they don’t really want to be out there.

"In the position he’s in now I think he’s taking his time, sitting back and learning a bit more about what it possibly takes to be a manager and I would not be surprised if he gets back into management."

According to Australian broadcaster SBS, the former Manchester United captain is on the shortlist of candidates being drawn up by Melbourne City, alongside the likes of Stuart Pearce, Alan Pardew and Australian under-23s boss Josep Gombau.

The A-League side are owned by the City Football Group, the company which also owns Manchester City and New York City FC.

The report suggests that the club are looking for a hard-nosed boss to change the culture at the club.

Don't forget, you can get involved by tweeting #LOIWeekly.

Subscribe to the show on ITunes by clicking here.

Or listen in SoundCloud below: [58 minute mark for the discussion on Keane]

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