Roy Keane is a character that has a well established reputation in the world of football. During his playing days he was a no-nonsense hard tackling midfielder, with his mental strength and ability to get in his opponent's head helping him become one of the best players in the Premier League.
The same traits that made him such a wonderful player may have something to do with his lack of success as a manager. While Keane was praised for his personal drive and stern manner on the pitch, it has not served him well when leading a dressing room full of professional players.
To say his man management skills have left something to be desired would be a bit of an understatement. He has repeatedly clashed with his own players, and his perceived lack of patience has not served him well.
His reputation has perhaps never been lower after his most recent stint with Ireland, but a former teammate of his believes that Keane is a massively misunderstood character.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Lee Sharpe said that the former United captain was a completely different person off the pitch:
I went out drinking with him from time to time, sat next to him at the training ground, and a lot of people don’t realise Keane was one of the funniest players in the dressing room.
He loved a laugh and a joke. Some of his jokes were a little bit cutting to some people, but that was by-the-by.
Then once he crossed the white line, he was an absolute psychopath. His nickname in the dressing room was ‘schizo’, which probably sums him up.
I’ve never had a fall out with him. I love him to bits. He was just a monster to have in your team.
Sharpe played with Keane for three years in the mid 90's, and it is possible that the Cork man's persona has hardened since then. However it does seem that he was a much different person than the one we often seen on the pitch or in front of the camera.
Sharpe also spoke about another one of his former teammates with a less than favourable reputation, Eric Cantona:
Eric came to the club with the reputation of being a bit of a troublesome soul.
We didn’t see a lot of that. He was one of the boys, came on lads’ days out, laughed and joked in the dressing room.
He never caused any problems until we got to Selhurst Park and the Crystal Palace day. That was a pretty special one.
We used to say he was Fergie’s long-lost love child.