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Manchester United

Roy Keane’s “soft spot” for former Man Utd star and teammate he “hated”

You always get the sense with Roy Keane that underneath that tough man image there is a more gentler side to Manchester United’s legendary captain.

With his recent foray onto Instagram, coupled with his jovial relationship with pundit partner Micah Richards, maybe, just maybe, the Irishman is beginning to soften a little.

While Keane’s regular quips and scathing criticisms would appear to the contrary, it actually seems that United’s old skipper has always been a gentle soul at heart – at least with one of his ex-teammates.

Few would predict that out of all his colleagues in the United dressing room, that Keane’s favoured member of the team was none other than Phil Neville.

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At least, that’s what Phil Neville has said anyhow.

Phil Neville (L) claims Roy Keane (C) had a soft spot for him at Man Utd
Phil Neville (L) claims Roy Keane (C) had a soft spot for him at Man Utd

Discussing his old leader on The Greatest Game with Jamie Carragher, Neville said: “Do you know what? I think he had a soft spot for me.

“He actually turned up to my wedding… and he would never turn up to anyone else’s wedding.

“He turned up to mine and had a good time – and his kids went to school with my kids.

“Every time I see him now, I think ‘he has a little bit of a soft spot for me’.”

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Yet while Phil seemed to be in Keane’s good books, same cannot be said for brother Gary, who regularly stepped on the wrong side of the fence.

Phil added: “I think because he hated Gary so much – he used to fight with Gary every day – he saw me as the nice one.”

Much of Keane’s attitude was borne out of his unrelenting desire to win, which proved to be a key backbone of United’s success under Sir Alex Ferguson.

And unsurprisingly his demeanour on the pitch was very different from the man behind closed doors, as former United teammate Eric Djemba Djemba once recalled.

“In the dressing room, he [Keane] was a good guy. He was very affectionate,” Djemba-Djemba told The Sun.

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“But on the pitch…. If you had a gun, you’d want to shoot him. He’d insult you, he’d say anything and everything.

“As soon as the game was finished, he was a different person. I preferred Keane in the dressing room rather than on the pitch. He was like that because he wanted to win.

“Sometimes I’d wear a diamond earring and Keane would say to me, ‘What is this?’ So before I got to the dressing room I removed it because I didn’t want him to see it.

“I remember he used to shout at Kleberson, who was a very quiet guy who never spoke and was always laughing.

“Keane would always shout at him, ‘Wake up, you’re not in Brazil now on the Copacabana. Run!’”

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