Wednesday 26 June 2019

'I don't think people realise how good he was' - Phil Neville's glowing tribute to Roy Keane

Phil Neville and Roy Keane
Phil Neville and Roy Keane

Harry Clarke

Phil Neville has paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate Roy Keane, describing the Corkman as "the greatest captain I ever played with".

Neville was a guest on last night's Off The Ball show on Newstalk with Joe Molloy and Kevin Kilbane and he spoke at length about his relationship with Keane and what the Irish assistant manager meant to him.

"He was the greatest captain I ever played for and the person that I learned most from in my career in terms of standards that you've got to keep," said Neville.

"In terms of leading a team from the front, in terms of never giving up, never letting your team-mates down and standing up for your team-mates when they're in trouble.

"I learned so much from him and I had a great relationship with him when I was at Manchester United. He was a large part of that young group coming through. He helped us so much, he sat with us, talked to us, joked with us.

"You talk about Alex Ferguson not giving me a telling off; you got a telling off of Roy if you dropped your standards."

Neville, who won six Premier League titles with Manchester United before leaving for Everton in 2005, added that it wasn't just his incredible hard work and toughness that made Keane the player he was. 

"As a player, I don't think people realise how good a player he was. People say he was tough, he was aggressive. He was a brilliant passer of the ball, he was as brave as a lion in terms of getting on the ball," added Neville.

He used to always say if I was at left back or right back, 'If you're having trouble and I've got men round me, just give me the ball I'll get you out of trouble'.

"And you can trust him with your life. He was brilliant in the last couple of years when I stepped into midfield and played alongside him. You just felt safe with him being in your team. I don't think I've seen anyone close to that kind of level of leadership that Roy gave that United team over a four or five year period."

You can listen to the full interview here

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