Keane mocks Gunners for being obsessed with 'selfies' and 'six-packs'
Published 03/08/2015 | 02:30
There's no such thing as a typical Keane interview. Here there was no high-pitched passion play, no Alf-Inge Haaland-type assault, just a softly-spoken, withering attack that came with a side of pity.
Keane gave one of those wicked half-smiles and dismissed the question almost before it had time to reach his brain.
"What about Arsenal's chances in the League, Roy, they're looking stronger this season."
"Ahhhh listen," he said, cocking his head to one side, "we've the same thing...(every season).
"There's too many Arsenal players interested in selfies, I think, whatever they are...
"Instead of focusing on winning Premier League titles, it's all about how their bodies look, how their hair is, more so than winning football matches, which is the way things are going..."
Keane wants to return to club management, but you would suggest he would need to call upon the spirit of Red Adair to enter the Emirates dressing-room.
"They've got good players, really good players, it's just one or two of their players are more interested in selfies and six-packs," he says.
"They've lots of good players, good characters who roll their sleeves up, just not those who are trying to get their pictures every day of the week, selfies..."
Perhaps Keane's kids had dared him to get the word selfies into an interview this week, but the Irishman rarely misses when he takes aim.
It's not the first time Keane has taken a potshot at the current platoon of Gunners, who he sees as undeserving inheritors of the famous red and white shirt that once cloaked the likes of Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and Martin Keown; a trio who may rather inhabit an institution than set up an Instagram account.
In Keane's 12 full seasons at Manchester United, Wenger's men were the strongest and most consistent threats to Alex Ferguson's insatiable group of winners.
Keane notched up seven titles in that time, with three going to Highbury, as well as four seasons where they ended the year in second place - or "best losers", as Keane might call them.
Wenger's first title came in the 1997-98 season, when Keane played just nine times, and it's not hard to imagine his hatred of the team grew that season, leaving him to spend the remainder of his years in red trying to expend the energy built up in the frustrating time spent on the sidelines that season.
He hated Arsenal, but it's now clear he just pities them.
"These Arsenal players need a reality check," he said last year when the Gunners celebrated an FA Cup semi-final victory over Wigan.
"Last season they celebrated finishing fourth and now they celebrate beating a Championship side on penalties - we are talking about Arsenal FC here."
Keane could have dismissed Arsenal's chances this season without delivering such a withering insult, but there's a glorious consistency in the fact that he retains those unforgivingly high standards even for those he rates so low.
A career in diplomacy was long ago ruled out for Keane (even if it would be enjoyable to post him to the Russian embassy in Kiev), and he showed little bias when it came to assessing United's chances for the forthcoming season.
Having returned from holiday last Saturday, he found United and Barcelona on TV, and he stayed up late, engrossed, through the 90 minute of pacy, quality football that betrayed its pre-season status.
His former side beat the European champions, but instead of praising the performance he warned that United were losing their way, and cast doubts on Louis van Gaal's extravagant squad building habits.
"United have gone away from what they were about; they are a bit like late 1980s, buying a lot of players thinking they will gel - but it doesn't happen that quickly."
(© Daily Telegraph, London)