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Gary Neville has named his former Manchester United teammate Roy Keane as the “most influential person” in football he’s ever seen.
Keane left the Red Devils suddenly in 2005 following the growing tensions between him and the club management. After his quit Neville was asked to become United captain.
The England right-back has revealed how difficult it was to replace his teammate as the captain, with the Irishman having great leadership qualities that could not be repeated.
He told Sky Sports: “I’d had Roy Keane as the captain for 10 years. Roy left really quickly, unexpectedly part way through the season. It was a shock to everybody. You could never replicate Roy Keane. I came into the first team under Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce. These were special characters, people who had influence and power over a dressing room. I knew I couldn’t take over Roy Keane and be Roy Keane. I’m simply not, neither in character, personality nor influence. I wanted to be true to myself. I went down the route of trying to be the same person I was before.
I think the reason Sir Alex chose me to be captain was simply it would have been me or Ryan Giggs. At the time Giggsy was in and out of the team because Sir Alex liked to rotate his forward players. With his defenders, I was playing every single week. He probably picked me because of the fact I’d be playing every single week but what I would say is that it was me, Ryan and probably Scholesy to an extent that were captains really in the way we worked together to set an example and the tone in the dressing room. Certainly different to the approach we had before with Roy. Roy was the most influential person I ever saw on a football pitch and off a football field. We couldn’t replicate that.”
Source: Metro UK