Speaking on Sky Sports, former Impact coach Thierry Henry has expressed what annoys him most when people talk about Manchester United legend Roy Keane.
And personally I could jump in the boat with the French World Cup winner on this one. In fact I would love to have had the conversation with him during his days in Montreal.
Alas though, most of our time as media spent facing Henry on this side of the pond was via the medium of Zoom, such was the effect of what became known as pandemic football.
Former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland great Keane has been nominated as a candidate to enter the Premier League’s Hall of Fame.
Just recently, Henry was one of two inaugural inductees into the Hall of Fame along with record goalscorer Alan Shearer and he says he wants to see Keane join him.
The legendary former Arsenal forward says that there should be more to Keane’s legacy than the fact he could put in a crunching tackle and that he gets annoyed when people talk only about how hard Roy Keane was as a player.
“Instead,” Henry said, “More focus should be given to Keane’s leadership and his ability to galvanise the United team when he was captain.
“I get annoyed when people talk about Roy Keane and about his tackles, that he was hard.
“Yes, he was, yes he was. He could tackle people as we all know, but what a player he was. He could pass the ball, he could score goals.
“I was in the stand when he scored that header in Turin to bring his team back into the 1999 Champions League semi-final and I was like... Wow!
“The way he brought his team back into the game. The way he battled in midfield. The way he could galvanise everyone and make them play better by just who he was.
“I won’t say what he was saying on the field at times to some of his team-mates, but I was like Wow... I understand why they listen.
“Also because he was a hell of a player. He could play.”
This writer couldn’t agree more with Monsieur Henry. If there was a better captain in the history of Premier League football, then point him out... At a time when I was a regular visitor to Old Trafford, Keane was the heartbeat of Ferguson’s greatest teams, the on-field boss, the fearsome driving force.
So different to today, United had a team of leaders; Cantona, Giggs, Scholes, Stam, Irwin, Schmeichel, Beckham, but Keano was the main man!
The night in Turin to which Henry refers, the Irishman had already picked up a yellow card, only his second throughout the whole competition, but he knew it was enough to suspend him from the final should United progress (the following year UEFA increased the threshold for suspension to three yellow cards). But he ensured they did, shrugging off the disappointment to head his team back into a game in which they’d trailed by two after only 11 minutes.
I was at the first leg at Old Trafford when Zidane and Holland’s Edgar Davids ran the first-half show for Juventus. United couldn’t get a kick and Antonio Conte shot Juve into a half-time lead.
The second-half was a completely different story. Keane took control, the best performance I ever saw from him live. Truly magnificent, played a huge part in disrupting the Zidane-Davids stranglehold for a now dominant United, who finally levelled through Giggs two minutes into added time.
I’d have probably selected Keane as inaugural inductee to the Premier League’s Hall of Fame, but I guess having the unequivocal backing of one who was, is not too shabby either...
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