Manchester United often find themselves on the wrong end of a Roy Keane rant. Here are five occasions when the Irishman summed up the club’s current lament.
Roy Keane was not one to shy away from getting stuck in during his playing days – just ask Erling Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge. The Irishman’s playing days may be long over, but he has maintained that fearsome fire within him throughout his current punditry gig. No team has been on the wrong end of an infamous Keane rant than his former employers Manchester United; here are five teams when the ex-club captain tore the present crop of players apart with nothing but some brutal words and a brooding expression.
#1 Get them out of the club
“There were five or six players there who should never play for Manchester United again. It was shameful,” Keane said after Manchester United were thrashed 4-1 by rivals Manchester City earlier this year.
“They’re so far behind the other teams. You hear noises all the time about things going on in the dressing room with a new manager coming in, but your own bit of pride eventually has to kick in at some stage. It was men vs boys as the old saying goes. They gave up and shame on them.”
Keane was in a bitter mood, seeing his team lose big to neighbors Manchester City, a defeat that all but ended their hopes of qualifying for the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League. The former team captain laid down in words what had been discussed by fans in pubs, stands, and forums – some of the players tasked with the responsibility of representing the club just aren’t good enough!
Considering that the Red Devils have only let bit-part players walk away this summer (barring Paul Pogba), one can assume that some of those characters Keane mentioned continue to exist on the club’s payroll.
#2 PR nonsense
“You talk about pre-season, I saw a lot of PR nonsense coming out of Manchester United during the games, and I still saw the same problems. It’s the same characters, same personalities, especially in midfield,” Keane said in the aftermath of the Red Devils’ 2-1 loss against Brighton.
“Harry Maguire saying it’s a nightmare start; it’s up to the players to do something about it. He keeps coming out as the captain saying how disappointed they are as a group. ‘We go again’. Leopards and spots, they must make some changes. It’s not all about throwing money at it, but these players aren’t up to it and good enough for Manchester United.”
A new season, a new manager, a new beginning? Perhaps not. Manchester United lost in front of a packed Old Trafford to Brighton and all the goodwill that Erik ten Hag and his “new and exciting team” had built in Asia, Australia, and Norway, washed down the drain – just like that. Keane, the harbinger of fan sentiments of late, pointed out that while the club pretended a lot had changed over the summer, not much actually did!
#3 Not good enough
“We go back to that I look for characters,” Keane reiterated following his former side’s 2-0 loss against Manchester City – a game in which the Red Devils were comprehensively beaten across the board.
“Scott McTominay, who I know is learning his trade. Fred in midfield. These players are not good enough for Manchester United. Defensively, I wasn’t shocked when Eric Bailly sliced that into his own net. He’s got that in his locker. He’s erratic.”
McTominay survived a clear-as-day red card in the opening minutes of the game against Brighton on Sunday night – an early reminder of the league’s spiraling refereeing standards. Fred was hooked off for a disgruntled Cristiano Ronaldo with Manchester United trailing in the second half. Bailly did not make the bench. Keane’s words on the trio – part of a much-larger problem – rang harsh but true after the Red Devils had lost 2-0 against Manchester City last season, two weeks after the five-nil drubbing at the hands of Liverpool.
All three remain at the club.
#4 Do your job!
“I’m fed up of the apologizing, Maguire coming out and saying they need to come together as a group,” Keane said on Maguire. No, you need to sort your game out if you’re going to be the leader of that group! Get the basics job and do your own job!” blasted Keane on live TV following Manchester United’s 5-0 humiliation at the hands of bitter rivals Liverpool.
“And people keep saying he mightn’t be fit. He gave away a goal against Leicester a few weeks ago, it’s nothing to do with fitness. It’s just a lack of professionalism, not doing his job properly. I’m intrigued to see United today, they have talented players at the top end of the pitch – as good as any team – but midfield and defensively you do worry.”
No stranger to criticism, Harry Maguire found himself on the wrong end of a Keane rant. Maguire has been a source of constant consternation for the Manchester United faithful, too, who, despite the vehement backing of some in the football community, just don’t see what the fuss is all about.
Nonetheless, Maguire retains the Manchester United captaincy and was last seen apologizing to the club faithful for letting them down following the Brighton defeat – again.
“I think it was anger at the start of the season, now I just think it is sadness,” Keane said on Sky Sports after Liverpool thrashed Manchester United 4-0. “You look at the team today, there was no heart, no soul, no leaders.
“They lacked quality, they were so far off. You look at the Manchester United fans, they don’t look surprised by the scoreline. They kept going to the end but you felt as though Liverpool could score whenever they wanted when they went forward. There is disarray at this football club, from the top to the bottom. The fans have got no time for the owners. They want new owners, a new manager, and new players.”
Even the most ardent of Keane followers were taken aback when they saw not a fuming, furious iteration of their favorite outspoken pundit but rather a man who seemed to have finally given up the last vestiges of hope that maybe, just maybe there is still some of the old soul left in his team. A 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool made sure of that and Keane, for all he has had to say, looked as if he needed a break from the misery that is Manchester United.