Phil Neville insists that the public perception of Roy Keane does not properly reflect the Irishman’s character.
Most view Roy Keane as a cantankerous curmudgeon who dwells too long on the negatives but Neville, who spent 11 years with Keane at Manchester United, assures fans that wasn’t always the case.
In his praise of his former captain, Neville recalled an incident with Keane during a game at Sunderland when the Irish midfielder shoved him in anger.
But it was Keane’s apology for the push that left a more lasting impact on Neville than the push itself.
“I remember at Sunderland, I think I did something wrong and he pushed me,” Neville revealed in an interview with Webby & O’Neill.
“The morning after, we were at the training ground and he came up to me and apologised to me.
“He said he was out of order and said it wasn’t the right thing to do.
“He’s someone that, even now when I see him, he is the captain!”
Neville explained how standards were established and enforced by Keane at Old Trafford and the Corkman would put the club before all else.
Judging by Neville’s recollection of his time working with him, it comes as no surprise that Keane was skipper when United enjoyed one of their most successful spells in the history of the club.
Neville continued: “You’d come into training and if you didn’t dress the right way or speak the right way or say your ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’, if you didn’t go out training early, if you didn’t work your hardest, if your attitude was wrong, if you gave the ball away, if you didn’t attain the standards required to play for Manchester United then Roy would be on you like a tonne of bricks.
“That was what we saw and I think the image that he has in the public is not the image that I have in my head now of Roy Keane.
“He’s someone that’s unbelievably funny, warm, looked after me and had the biggest influence on me as a player in terms of the standards that are required.”