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Wayne Rooney Reveals Background To Infamous Roy Keane Clash With Patrick Vieira

By Gary Connaughton
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Manchester United vs Arsenal was the biggest fixture in the Premier League for a number of years, with those two team dominating the division in the last 90s and early 00s.

They were two exquisite sides, consisting of some truly world class players. They also weren't short on character.

Of course, the teams were defined by their captains. In Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, you had two of the fiercest personalities ever to play the game. It probably helped somewhat that the pair didn't exactly get on.

The two men had no shortage of clashes down through the years, with the most well-known coming before a game at Highbury back in 2005, with Keane accosting Vieira in the tunnel before the two teams made their way onto the pitch.

[Watch Video]


No love lost there.

Wayne Rooney on Keane-Vieira tunnel clash

This incident has been much discussed down through the years, although someone who was in the tunnel on the day has now given a bit more background as to what exactly happened.


Writing in his column in The Times, Wayne Rooney recalled how a reaction from Gary Neville in the away dressing room sparked the whole thing off.

Arsenal’s players had targeted Gary Neville for whatever reason and it started in the warm-up. I think Vieira and someone else chased Gary down the tunnel. He’s not a fighter, Gary — not off the pitch — and he ran into our dressing room. “What’s up with you?” we said.

He told us what happened and when the teams lined up to go out, Roy went straight to Vieira. “If you’re going to pick on someone, try me,” he said. You can see on the footage that I’m laughing because it was quite funny — though, inside, I was thinking: “Roy, don’t do anything silly here, don’t get sent off.”

As it happened, Roy had a magnificent game — as did Vieira. Tackles went in and the match boiled over. There’s footage of me arguing with Pires and stroking my cheek — people thought I was making fun of his beard, but actually I was asking where he got his make up from.

Graham Poll was the referee and at another point I think I swore at him about 50 times in a minute. Vieira scored from a corner, Ryan Giggs equalised, Bergkamp scored and then Ronaldo scored twice as we kept hitting them on the break. Then Mikael Silvestre got sent off for head-butting Ljungberg. The tackles kept flying in. It was a mad game.

Manchester United would win the game 4-2, although it was Chelsea that would lift the league title later that season.


That campaign marked the end of the peak of the rivalry between the two clubs, with Chelsea essentially replacing Arsenal as United's biggest threat in the division.

It would also be the end of the battles between Keane and Vieira, with the Frenchman joining Juventus that summer.

SEE ALSO: BT Sport Panel Identify Liverpool's Biggest Shortcoming So Far This Season

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