One of the rotating ex-pros who finds themselves speaking to Richard Keys and Andy Gray in Doha, Jason McAteer found himself in the unusual position of assuring the host that Roy Keane was in fact a great player.
Although a once noted animosity between the pair seems to have calmed significantly, the former Liverpool and Ireland international was visibly perplexed when asked by Keys of the footballing quality Keane possessed.
Working with Sky Sports for the entirety of Keane's career in the Premier League with Manchester United, Keys, who was happy to admit that Keane's leadership was of immense importance, nevertheless wondered whether or not you would list him as a great technical player.
Admitting that he himself once wondered the same thing, McAteer recalled an international game where he and Keane shared the central midfield duties between them, and he became blatantly aware of Keane's world-class abilities.
I used to think, 'I don't get it.' I would train with him for Ireland all the time, and I used to think he was bang average.
I remember Mick [McCarthy] putting me centre midfield, I don't remember who we were playing, but it was me and Roy in the middle of the park.
After 90 minutes I came off and thought, I know what that's all about now. You give it away, he wins it back. He demands the best from all the players.
Persisting with his arguement that such talents aren't necessarily conducive to a great player in the creative sense Keys had in mind, he argued; "He wasn't a magician."
Furthermore, highlighting the abilities of earlier, similar players, Keys suggested; "I think Souness would have had a pocket in his shorts for him."
To be fair to him, Andy Gray was equally perplexed that he had to explain this to Keys. You can watch the entirety of the talk below.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) September 29, 2018