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Alex Ferguson Went Mad When Keane Went Back To Play For Ireland

Alex Ferguson Went Mad When Keane Went Back To Play For Ireland
By Conor Neville

Alex Ferguson was very unhappy about Roy Keane's decision to return to the Ireland squad for the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Keane admitted the decision to return was an emotional one. He said his pride in being Irish and being from Cork had grown more acute as he grew older and said there was unfinished business with the national team.

But as you get older, there's a point - maybe a feeling - where you go, 'Don't forget what it's all about; don't forget where you come from.

He described his first game back against Romania at Lansdowne Road as 'really, really emotional.'

I'd always loved the bus journeys to the games. Kids waving flags - I used to love all that. The police sirens. And the rebel songs on the bus - I enjoyed them; it was tradition... the game itself and the national anthem - all emotional stuff.

Keane played six of the ten qualifying games for that World Cup, playing particularly well against France in the Stade de France. But he would have played less had Fergie got his way.

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I was glad to be back but the consequences of the decision were about to bite me in the arse. I made myself available to play away in Switzerland, in the second qualifier, in September '04, although I'd fractured my ribs. I'd done that a few weeks before in a Champions League qualifier against Dynamo Bucharest. I'd played in our next game against Norwich but my ribs were at me. I'd be ruled out for four or five weeks but, after two or three, I felt better. The club doctor said it was all fine. But I hadn't played for United. So I rang Alex Ferguson and told Alex Ferguson I thought I'd be all right to play against Switzerland.

He went fuckin' mad.

'You're not fit enough to play for us!'

But I went and played against Switzerland. We drew 1-1.

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