Roy Keane says biggest regret of his career is that he was ‘too nice to people’
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Roy Keane says biggest regret of his career is that he was ‘too nice to people’

ROY KEANE has made the extraordinary claim he was “too nice” during his playing career. 

The Irishman carved out a reputation for his exacting standards as captain of Manchester United during a period of unrivalled success for the Red Devils. 

Keane was central to this, with his confrontational approach to dealing with opponents and teammates alike a cornerstone of that golden era. 

Indeed, the midfielder’s habit of driving standards and taking a direct approach when it came to airing issues ultimately proved his downfall for both club and country. 

As a manager too, Keane’s demanding nature initially paid dividends at Sunderland, before a similar approach at Ipswich was met with disastrous results. 

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21 Apr 2001: Roy Keane of Manchester United shouts at Alf Inge Haaland of Manchester City following his red card during the FA Carling Premiership match played at Old Trafford, in Manchester, England. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (Gary M Prior/Allsport)

However, Keane now believes that while there were times where he went a little overboard with this approach, there were also times when he gave people an easy ride. 

“Sometimes I was too hard. Sometimes I was too soft,” he told the Irish Independent . 

“If I was critical, looking back on my own career and how I dealt with people, even in management – and people mightn’t believe this – but I reckon that sometimes I was too nice to people. 

“People stabbed me right in my chest, it wasn’t in my back. Because I was too nice to them.” 

The claims are made all the more astonishing considering his robust approach on the pitch too, with the hard-tackling midfielder involved in a string of infamously ugly confrontations with players like Alfe-Inge Haaland and Alan Shearer. 

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15 Sep 2001: Man Utd Captain Roy Keane takes a swing at Newcastle captain Alan Shearer during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Newcastle United and Manchester United played at St. James Park in Newcastle, England. Newcastle won the match 4- 3. (Gary M Prior /Allsport).

Even so, he has few regrets about his winner-takes-all approach to life at Old Trafford. 

“That was who I was. Even pre-season, any game I ever took it easy in, I guarantee you I was the worst player on the park,” he added. 

“I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t in my make-up. I had to be full pelt. If I lightened up too much in football, I would never have got to England. If I did, I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes.”