Much has been made of training ground bust-ups in recent weeks and it’s hardly surprising that Roy Keane was no stranger to an altercation with teammates behind the scenes.
Keane had a fearsome reputation as a player and many consider him the greatest captain in Premier League history due to the standards that he set during his 12 years with Manchester United.
Former United midfielder Jonathan Greening revealed how Keane once forced Alex Ferguson to bring an end to a training session because of an overly-aggressive challenge on a youth player.
“There were some big personalities,” Greening told The Athletic of his time with the Red Devils. “We would have young v old games on a Friday, small-sided, half-pitch, and people would absolutely smash each other.
“I remember Roy Keane smashing a young lad called Mark Wilson once and Sir Alex Ferguson calling it a day, sending everyone in because it was carnage.
“You’re talking a day before a Premier League game. If you weren’t in a winning team people used to go nuts, pushing each other. Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] was one of them.”
It wasn’t just the youngsters who were targeted by Keane, however, as some of his closest friends at United felt the captain’s wrath if they didn’t meet the standards expected.
Former United sports psychologist Bill Beswick recalled his very first day working with Alex Ferguson’s side, when he watched Keane sprint half the length of the training pitch to confront fellow Corkman Denis Irwin for losing the ball.
“The first day I went to Manchester United, I was watching eight versus eight possession,” Beswick told Keep It On The Deck.
“Roy Keane – who’s a warrior, not just an athlete, not just a competitor but a warrior, the mindset of a warrior – his team have got possession.
“Denis Irwin has got the ball. He’s looking up, he’s trapped, he’s going to lose the ball.
“Roy Keane makes a beautiful run and signals ‘Denis!’ where he wants the ball. Denis doesn’t see him, doesn’t hear him, doesn’t respond and loses the ball.
“Roy Keane ran 40 yards to challenge his teammate: ‘Get your head up!’ I was shocked.”