Sunday 15 December 2019

Rio: Keane let rip at me but it made me a better player in the end

Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand told guests at the Dublin Web Summit how savage criticism from his former captain, Roy Keane, gave him an edge in football. He also revealed that death threats and abusive comments are the norm for sportsmen and women. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand told guests at the Dublin Web Summit how savage criticism from his former captain, Roy Keane, gave him an edge in football. He also revealed that death threats and abusive comments are the norm for sportsmen and women. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sam Griffin

Rio Ferdinand revealed how an ear bashing from Roy Keane in training helped him to progress as a top class centre half with Manchester United.

Ferdinand (pictured inset)joined the Old Trafford club in 2002 and played with Keane for three years before the Corkman and United went their separate ways.

"One of my first training sessions I got the ball, passed it to Gary Neville who was on my team. I hit a normal ball and then Keane just turned around and said: 'Pass it forward, take risks. You're not at Leeds or West Ham now, you are at Man Utd'," said Ferdinand at the Web Summit in the RDS.

"I stood there and just thought, 'this guy is crazy' (but) I realised you have got to take chances and that's how I ended up playing in my career."

The QPR player also revealed death threats and abusive comments were "the norm" for sports people.

Ferdinand, who was last week handed a three-game ban for a jibe he aimed at one Twitter user who had criticised his performances, said his latest remark was deemed "over the line" and said the digital sphere was "a hard place at times".

"I think you've got to be mindful of what you say, and when you say it. Normally, I think I'm quite good at doing that.

"The main reason for me to go on Twitter is to engage with fans.

"If you haven't got a thick skin don't go on there. There's times when people say some really outlandish, crazy, evil stuff on there and you've got to be able to dust it off and move on."

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk also spoke of the challenges of social media, but said it can be useful in gauging public opinion. "Twitter and Facebook, they'll tell you when something sucks, even if it doesn't suck, they'll tell you something sucks," he joked.

Irish Independent

Also in Business