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Roy Keane on why he regrets naming all-time greatest Man United XI

Keane picked his ultimate Man United XI as part of a documentary in 2013.

Since bringing the curtain down on his playing career in 2006, Roy Keane has remained prominent in football.

The Irishman endured mixed fortunes in management. While he guided Sunderland to Premier League promotion in 2007, the former Manchester United captain failed to transform Ipswich Town’s fortunes, departing Portman Road in January 2011.

Keane was, of course, part of Martin O’Neill’s backroom team for Ireland’s successful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill.

The Corkman followed O’Neill to Nottingham Forest in January 2019 only for the pair to leave the Championship club five months later.

Keane’s ventures in punditry have been far more successful. A regular in the Sky Sports studio, Keane has become renowned for his no-nonsense brand of analysis which, at times, has set him on the warpath with some of Sky’s other talking heads.

As with Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, Keane can often prove more entertaining than the game he is tasked with breaking down.

But one of his most successful post-career projects saw him team up with ITV, not Sky, for Best of Enemies, a 2013 documentary in which Keane and Patrick Vieira came face-to-face to discuss their rivalry and the Manchester United-Arsenal rivalry that dominated English football around the turn of the millennium.

As United and Arsenal captains respectively, Keane and Vieira were the symbols of an immense rivalry, with their passion for the cause often spilling over into bitter on-field battles.

A major hit for ITV, the documentary earned rave reviews as Keane and Vieira traded friendly blows.

Keane rejoiced in reminding Vieira about how his misplaced pass led to Ryan Giggs scoring one of the most famous goals of all time in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay.

Vieira, however, was quick to bring up how Arsenal clinched the Premier League title at Old Trafford in 2002.

The pair were also tasked with assembling their ultimate United and Arsenal XIs.

Keane’s United ‘Dream Team’ – comprised of players he’d shared the pitch with – looked like this:

Peter Schmeichel; Paul Parker, Jaap Stam, Gary Pallister, Denis Irwin; David Beckham, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo; Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Keane added that, if he were to leave anyone out, it would have been himself in order to bring Paul Scholes in.

Vieira agreed and said he would have had Scholes in his United XI.

However, while Keane stocked his XI with world-class players and United legends, the Irishman later admitted to having regret over participating in the exercise and said he would likely make ‘three or four changes’ if he ever did it again.

Speaking in 2014 (via FourFourTwo), he said: “That programme is not something I’m entirely happy that I’ve done,” he said.

“Whether people liked it or not, I felt uncomfortable picking my best XI.

Roy Keane on the only favour Alex Ferguson did for him after he left Man United

“I felt embarrassed leaving players out. I feel like I disrespected my teammates.

“And if you asked me to name my best XI now, well I wouldn’t do it, first of all. But if I did, there’d probably be three or four changes.”

While Keane may not look back fondly on his involvement in the programme, Best of Enemies is certainly worth a watch if you don’t fancy scrolling through Netflix.

An hour well spent, and it’s available in full on YouTube.

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