Football

Watch: Keane's Insight Into Mentality During Vieira Rivalry Is Fascinating

Watch: Keane's Insight Into Mentality During Vieira Rivalry Is Fascinating

Manchester United and Arsenal was a hell of a rivalry in the late 90's and early 00's, with Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira at the centre of it.

Those two had many a titanic battle in the middle of the park, and while they were never the biggest fans of the other, there was always a sense of mutual respect when they played.

Keane appeared in the Sky Sports studio this evening ahead of the meeting between United and Arsenal when the topic of his rivalry with Vieira inevitably came up. The Irishman explained his mentality around that time, and it was absolutely fascinating.

I would know a couple of days before these games, any slight injury I may have, I would be feeling it. I would always feel like I was going to war with these boys anyway, so I would be feeling the aches and pains before the game, never mind afterwards.

That's what you play the game for...

Patrick would have been (his toughest opponent) at the time. Patrick would challenge you in different ways, he could get around the pitch, he was good on the ball, he had a goal in him.

I knew I had to be at my very very best to get on top of Patrick.

Jamie Carragher asked Keane if he felt that him getting the better of Vieira was the key to winning those games, and it was certainly something he agreed with.

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I think because of the position we were playing in in the middle of the park, if you can win your midfield battles it does give you a good chance of winning football matches.

There was also a respect towards Patrick, because when I knew I had to be at my best it was a respect towards Patrick. It was the same for other lads coming through, your Gerrards and Lampards, so huge respect to Patrick.

I knew we were in a team game, but I knew if I could win my battle with Patrick then obviously it gives us a better chance of winning the game.

At the turn of the century, there was actually talk of Vieira moving to Manchester United. The move would never materialise, with the Frenchman going on to experience plenty more success with Arsenal before leaving for Juventus in 2005.

Keane was asked about the deal this evening, and had a tongue-in-cheek response.

SEE ALSO: Watch: Carragher's All-Time United-Arsenal XI Is Sure To Cause Plenty Of Debate

Gary Connaughton

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