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Ian Wright recalls how Patrick Vieira prepared for Roy Keane clashes

Roy Keane Patrick Vieira

“His whole demeanour changed.”

Ian Wright has recalled how former Arsenal teammate Patrick Vieira would raise his training levels in preparation for clashes against Roy Keane.

The rivalry between Keane and Vieira has gone down in Premier League infamy as one of the fiercest feuds ever seen on the pitch.

Punches were thrown, crunching tackles were commonplace and fighting words were exchanged in the tunnel but the pair have since patched things up.

Wright recently revealed that Vieira would reach a new level of intense focus ahead of matches against Keane’s Manchester United in the knowledge that the winner of the midfield battle would likely find himself on the winning team.

“I remember the weeks leading into playing United and Patrick’s whole demeanour changed,” Wright said on his podcast.

Roy Keane Patrick Vieira

Roy Keane vs Patrick Vieira

“From the Monday to the Saturday, everything in training changed with Patrick – how sharp he was, how intense he was, how gnarly he was.

“When you listen to both of them speak about it, they’ve both said, ‘I didn’t want to give him an inch.’ Patrick and Roy Keane have both said the same thing – ‘If I play anywhere below where I’m capable of playing, we’ll probably lose the game.’

“It was so balanced that whoever got the better of that particular confrontation probably wins the game.

Roy Keane Patrick Vieira

“I remember Patrick in training, his demeanour changed because he was now in ‘I’m up against Roy Keane on Saturday and we’re not fucking losing’ mode.

“The tackles were fiercer, really properly winning it. His intensity in respect of keeping the ball and if you miscontrolled it, he was on you. Bam! Remember, Tony Adams was still captain at the time.

“But he was getting himself into ‘I’m playing against Roy Keane’ mode and he was playing in training like he knew he had to play on the Saturday and it was something to behold.”

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