Wednesday 16 January 2019

'He was a monster to have in your team' - Former Manchester United winger on Roy Keane influence

Roy Keane. Photo: Getty
Roy Keane. Photo: Getty
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Manchester United winger Lee Sharp has revealed Roy Keane is "funny" when you get to know him, as he paid a warm tribute to his ex-teammate.

Keane developed a fearsome reputation as a player and extended that into a coaching career that has seen him clash with several players during his time as a manager at Sunderland and Ipswich and then in his role as Republic of Ireland assistant boss.

Yet Sharp suggests Keane is misunderstood by many, even though he admits his notorious temper is often close to the surface.

"I love Keany to bits," Sharp told talkSPORT. "I knocked around with him, went out drinking with him from time to time and sat next to him at the training ground. What people don't know if that Keany is probably one of the funniest people in a dressing room that I have ever known. He loved a bit of a laugh and joke, even if some of his jokes were a little cutting to people.

"Once he crossed the white line, he was a an absolute psychopath. His nick-name in the dressing room was 'schizo'. That probably sums him up, but I've never had a fall out with him and he was an unbelievable player, a monster to have in your team."

Sharp went on to recount a story of a fan being given the Keane ticking off when he asked for a photo of the duo.

"When you see him on camera, you get a persona of him. He is slightly more relaxed when you see him away from the cameras, but that edge is there," he said.

"I saw him about 18 months ago at a hotel and we were having a chat and a fella came up and asked whether he could take a photo with us in the background.

"Keany told him to do one, with a load of profanities, telling the fella he was annoying us. I said to him that he needed a calm down and Roy just said: 'I'm getting worse as I get older'."

Sharp went on to recall his clashes with United manager Alex Ferguson, as he admitted his reputation as a football playboy was not welcomed by the Scot.

"I don't think he liked my attitude to life," added Sharp. "I have probably had more hairdryers than most. He didn't like my celebrations after a goal.

"The manager was pretty harsh on me, but he wasn't like that with anyone. I remember wearing a green suit when we went to see the Lord Mayor after we won a trophy and he had a go at me for what I was wearing.

"The invite said suit and tie and that's what I wore. Then Eric Cantona walked in with a suit, no tie and a pair of red Nike trainers. I turned around and said if you are going to have a go at me, you need to have a go at him! He just walked off."

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