Former Republic of Ireland international David Meyler has reiterated just how much respect is given to Roy Keane by some of the game’s greats.
While Roy Keane now plies his trade as a brutally honest pundit whose trademark sound bites are the stuff of dreams for Sky Sports’ social media team, he is still a footballing legend who is almost universally held in high regard.
Keane’s fellow Corkman David Meyler has revealed that he has witnessed first-hand instances of World Cup winners approaching Keane with showings of admiration, proving that there was much more to the famously fiery former Manchester United captain than leadership skills.
“I reckon Roy is going to ring me after this and go mad,” Meyler said on Off The Ball.
“After the game [2014 friendly against Italy] we were just waiting on the bus. Anyway, [Andrea] Pirlo walks over to Roy to just shake his hand and say hello. Then Daniele De Rossi went up to Roy and asked him for a photograph. As much as we’re looking on then thinking these fellas are World Cup winners and phenomenal players, they’re all going up to Roy.
“You see a lot of people nowadays on social media say that Roy Keane wasn’t that great and just happened to be a good captain. When you see the level of respect he has from those kinds of players though, it shows how good he was.”
Keane likely appreciates how he is perceived by players like Pirlo and De Rossi but he has never been one for too much back-patting.
The ex-Ireland captain recently made headlines for criticising the post-match embraces between Harry Maguire and John Stones after the Manchester derby.
Keane is clearly not much of a hugger and not even Gianluigi Buffon could get a proper embrace from the Irishman.
“Most of you wouldn’t have seen this at the time, but I was on the bench when Robbie Brady scored against Italy,” Meyler said of the Euro 2016 game between Ireland and the Italians.
“After the game, Gigi Buffon actually went over and hugged Martin and Roy, just to kind of say well done. He was just a big, friendly Italian fella. Even then though, Roy was kind of a bit, ‘Get off me’, you know.”