'I feel fortunate to have played with him' - Rio Ferdinand on the qualities that made Roy Keane a special captain
Rio Ferdinand has hailed Roy Keane as one of the finest players he shared a field with during his decorated career, as he insisted the Irishman's passion should not be viewed as a negative personality trait.
Keane was United's midfield talisman when Ferdinand moved to Old Trafford in 2001, with Ferdinand telling Independent.ie that he relished the challenge of rising to the standards Keane demanded of his team-mate.
"Roy had high standards and he expected those around them to meet those standards, but I never had a problem with that," said BT Sport pundit Ferdinand.
"Maybe some people find him a bit intense in the way he looks at football, but when you are at a big club like Manchester United, you need someone like Roy Keane to set the bar for what people need to reach for. You always have to put a little bit more in and no-one put in more than Roy.
"I loved training with him. He was so dedicated and you look at Roy and think; I can always do a bit more here. That's what he could do to players around him. Get them to put in that extra yard.
"I got on really well with him. When we see each other now we have a laugh, but I feel fortunate to have played with someone like Roy Keane.
"He was a great player, hugely influential on those around him on the training ground and when the matches came around. His will to win was up there with the best I've played with. What I tried to do at United was take a piece from the players I played with and he is defiantly someone I looked at in that sense.
"There are different types of leaders. I was a talker, Roy Keane was a shouter and a bawler. He demanded a lot from people and led by example the way he played. Paul Pogba is a leader and he is going to warm into that role in the coming years under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
"You look back of clips of Roy Keane and it reminds you what he was all about. Total commitment, total desire. He was a proper Manchester United player."
Keane has struggled to make a successful transition into management, in a coaching career that has been notable for high profile clashes with some of his players.
Yet Ferdinand believes Keane could still make it as a manager, if he makes a break from his role as assistant manager to Martin O'Neill at Nottingham Forest.
"He hasn't done as well as he would have wanted in management, but he is assistant to Martin O'Neill now and maybe he will get another chance as a manager down the road," added Ferdinand.
"Having Roy in a dressing room should inspire players and you will only feel intimidated by people like him and Alex Ferguson if you can't live up to the standards they demand."
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