Monday Night Football is always a goldmine for some top class analysis, and last night was no different. After Gary Neville gave a masterful breakdown of the flaws in Anthony Martial's game at the top of the show, later in the night the conversation turned to what makes the ideal captain.
There has been a shift towards a different type of captaincy in the last few years, with the likes of Paul Pogba and Mesut Özil being handed the armband in recent weeks. When Neville was questioned as to who was the best captain he played with, he was in little doubt.
Roy Keane without a shadow of a doubt. Without a shadow of a doubt the most inspirational player I have ever played with, because he wasn't only the best player on the pitch most weeks... but the influence he had in terms of his standards, the fact that he made everybody else feel 10-foot tall, the fact that he demanded from you all the time.
He was almost like Sir Alex Ferguson was on the training pitch and in the dressing room, there was never any drop in standard.
Richard Keys recently questioned the footballing qualities of Roy Keane during his time as a player, doubting if he was ever 'world class'. During a time when Manchester United were the unstoppable juggernaut of English football, Neville clearly believed the Irish international was the best player in a dressing room full of superstars.
He received the captaincy when the Corkman left the club, and he had his doubts about taking the armband such was Keane's influence at the club during his tenure.
I took over the captaincy from Roy and never wanted to, because ultimately he was the best captain that you could ever have. You would never even be able to think to be a captain like Roy Keane was, you had to be more collaborative.
Whereas Roy had the complete control of the changing room in terms of he was the dominant figure, he was the best player, he was the most influential.
When asked whether Keane ruled the dressing room through fear, the former England right-back was quick to dismiss the notion. He believes it was the accountability he placed on the other players in the team that allowed him to be so influential.
It wasn't ruling by fear, it would be absolutely wrong to say that. It was more about the facts of standards, what was expected. Your touch should always be good, your pass should always be good, you should never be late...
The fact of the matter is he lived by those standards himself. It wasn't as if he was telling us to do one thing and he was doing something different.
🔴 Roy Keane
🔴 Steven Gerrard
🔵 John Terry
🔴⚪ Patrick Vieira@GNev2 and @Carra23 could not agree, but who do you think was the best captain from a generation of fine leaders? ©️
🗳️ Cast your vote here: https://t.co/Iv9B8JsBxz pic.twitter.com/ogI2s4XKNg
— Sky Sports Retro (@SkySportsRetro) October 30, 2018
Keane seems to have carried this frame of mind into his management career, and indeed into the current Irish setup. Many have speculated that his continuous clashes with players can be traced to the fact that the current generation of footballers do not adhere to the high standards he set himself as a player.
Judging by Neville's comments here, that may well be the case.