WATCH: 'I used to think he was bang average' - Jason McAteer leaps to the defence of Roy Keane
Former Republic of Ireland winger Jason McAteer has insisted Roy Keane should be respected as one of the best midfielders of his era, after his status as a Premier League great was questioned.
During an appearance on beIN Sports in Qatar, the former Liverpool star was quizzed by host Richard Keys on whether Keane could be compared to former Tottenham and England midfielder Glenn Hoddle.
Keane has confirmed that Hoddle was his favourite player when he was growing up in Cork, yet McAteer insisted suggestions that the former Manchester United skipper was over-rated were wide of the mark.
"I would train with him for Ireland all the time, and I used to think he was bang average," stated McAteer.
"I used to think, 'I don't get it.' Then I remember Mick (McCarthy) putting me centre midfield, I don't remember who we were playing, but it was me and Roy in the middle of the park.
"After 90 minutes I came off and thought, I know what that's all about now. You give it away, he wins it back. He demands the best from all the players. You were frighten of him. You were frightened not to give it away. He was top quality."
Keys went on to suggest Keane was not a player who were a match for midfield hard men Graeme Souness and Peter Reid, in comments that were not accepted by his long-time co-host Richard Keane, as this conversation confirms: