Ian Wright mocks Roy Keane during 2018 World Cup coverage
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Roy Keane is in the studio for today’s FA Cup final as Chelsea take on Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. The former Manchester United man is no stranger to the big occasion, having won numerous trophies during his illustrious career. Keane is also a notoriously straight-talking, no nonsense figure in the world of football, and has been since the early days of his career. A proud Irishman, Keane once voiced his disapproval when international teammate Matt Holland sang the British national anthem while playing at Wembley.
Writing in his autobiography in 2014, Keane talked about the time he “caught” Lancashire born Holland singing the national anthem ahead of a game.
He said: “Love of a country is a hard thing to measure but if you see a player on the TV who played for Ireland, singing ‘God Save the Queen’ in a play-off final, you might just say, ‘Oh, right. Maybe he’s not really all that Irish’.
“Matty Holland would be an example. For me, Matty is as English as David Beckham. He played for Ireland and he obviously has the roots.
“But he played for Ipswich in a play-off final, in 2000, and he was singing ‘God Save the Queen’ at the top of his voice.
“I don’t think he could have sung it any louder. Some of the other Irish lads saw him, too, so at the next couple of international matches we were going, ‘Turn that rebel music up a bit’.”
Keane explained he wasn’t against non-Irish born players representing the country of his birth, but wanted them to do it for the right reasons.
He said: “If they want to come on board and they qualify, then great, as long as they’ve a feel for it.
“I think, in the past, there were one or two players who probably declared for Ireland as a career move – and I can understand that, too.
“They did well for the country, but I look at some of them now and I wonder if they’ve been back to Ireland since.
“So I think the attitude should be, ‘Listen, if you’re going to come on board, get a feel for it – have a warmth for the country but don’t just do it as a pure career move’.”
Keane’s Ireland career was a mixed one. He was a standout player in the side that qualified for the World Cup in 2002.
But before the tournament, a public row broke out between Keane and Ireland manager at the time Mick McCarthy.
It resulted in Keane being sent home from the squad. The incident divided public opinion in Ireland regarding who was to blame.
The former Manchester United captain joined the Ireland coaching staff in 2013, and stayed in the role for five years.
But his departure in 2018 was also unceremonious.
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Reflecting on the job in an interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap last year, Keane revealed why he fell out with some players.
He said: “We had a good dressing room and group. It was well short in terms of quality, but we had a good group.
“At the end, with Ireland, one or two players started p****** me off. Not training properly, talking a good game and I eventually fell out with one or two players.
“I think that is part of the game and I think you are supposed to fall out. People don’t fall out with people. I think people need to challenge each other.”
He also said some of those he had disputes with were “idiots” who “didn’t want to train.”
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