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Robbie Keane On The Managers He Most Enjoyed Playing Under

Robbie Keane has played under a lot of different managers throughout his playing career.

That tends to happen when you play for 11 different clubs during your time as a professional footballer.

Robbie Keane favourite manager

Inter Milan, Tottenham, Liverpool, Celtic and Leeds are just some of the teams that Keane has represented and with that, some high profile coaches he played under too.

Robbie Keane, who was speaking to Gary Lineker on the BBC MOTD podcast, outlined some of the best managers he’s played under before deciding on former Tottenham Hotspur boss Martin Jol as his overall pick.

Robbie Keane favourite manager

“He was hard, he was fair but you could have a laugh and a joke with him.”

“I always go with people that I really enjoyed playing for,” Keane began.

“Mick McCarthy was certainly one of them because of his honesty. In the World Cup, we had a great tournament there in 2002. I love Mick’s honesty. What you see is what you get. He’s a great guy.

“Tactically, (Giovanni) Trapattoni was unbelievable. We didn’t lose a game for three or four years away from home with Ireland when he was in charge.

Robbie Keane favourite manager

“The one I enjoyed really the most and I probably played my best football was Martin Jol at Tottenham. I really liked him, the way he played. He liked to play out from the back, he liked to play football. But not just that, he was a good guy, a really good guy.

“He was hard, he was fair but you could have a laugh and a joke with him. He had that Dutch funny, arrogant humour but in a really good way. He was a character. I enjoyed working with him. He was good.

“You’d always go out feeling like you could do your best for him. He was always trying to help you and not just me, all of the other players, particularly the relationship when he brought (Dimitar) Berbatov in. Both of us really clicked with each other. For bringing him in, (that) was great. I’d say Martin Jol is definitely up there.”

Robbie Keane favourite manager

“Never had a problem or falling out.” 

Interestingly, Keane didn’t mention Rafa Benitez when outlining some of his favourite managers. Benitez, who is considered to be one of the best coaches in the world, managed Keane during the Dubliner’s brief stint with Liverpool for the first half of the 2008/2009 season.

However, the move was short-lived as he went back to Tottenham a few months later in the January transfer window. As Keane recalls, he didn’t have a proper falling out with Benitez.

“We were actually ok, to be honest with you. I just knew there was probably something, for the first couple of games I played left wing, obviously, I never played there. I used to drift out there a bit but I never played there.

“Then I had a spell where I was playing really well, I think I scored a couple of goals, I think I scored a great volley against Arsenal and I didn’t play the next game. It was a little bit like that a lot of the time. But he had a certain way he wanted to play and I respected that.

“In terms of a manager, tactically, he was very good. Really good. But we never had any problems. Never had a problem or falling out. I’d have conversations with him, of course. Because I would score two at the weekend and then I’m not playing.

“He’d like to play a way where he’d like to play a midfielder in there. He’d play Stevie (Gerrard) as the 10 and (Fernando) Torres high up. Listen, I’m not going to argue with Steven Gerrard, his record. Playing with Torres was unbelievable also. Honestly, the two of us never had a proper falling out.”

Keane is eager to get back into management after his spells as an assistant with both the Republic of Ireland and Middlesbrough.

Having played under such a vast variety of different managers will no doubt stand to him as he looks to further pursue his coaching career.

Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email seanmc@punditarena.com or on Twitter

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