Lee Sharpe defends former teammate Roy Keane and says he was one of the 'funniest' players in the dressing room
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Lee Sharpe defends former teammate Roy Keane and says he was one of the 'funniest' players in the dressing room

Lee Sharpe says the fearsome reputation Roy Keane has developed over the years is out of kilter with his own personal experience at Old Trafford.

Keane was involved in famous spats with Mick McCarthy and Alf-Inge Haland during his playing career and as manager left both Sunderland and Ipswich in acrimonious circumstances.

He also clashed with a number of senior players during his time as Ireland assistant manager.

But former United winger Sharpe gave a different insight into Keane’s character.

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Alan Smith (R), Paul Scholes Roy Keane, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs (far left) celebrate a goal during the Barclays Premiership match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on December 18, 2004 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

"I love Keaney to bits," he told talkSPORT this week. "I knocked around with him, went out drinking with him from time to time and sat next to him at the training ground.

“What people don't know if that Keaney is probably one of the funniest people in a dressing room that I have ever known. He loved a bit of a laugh and joke, even if some of his jokes were a little cutting to people.

"Once he crossed the white line, he was a an absolute psychopath. His nickname in the dressing room was 'schizo'. That probably sums him up, but I've never had a fall-out with him and he was an unbelievable player, a monster to have in your team."

Roy Keane of Manchester United clashes with Joey Barton of Manchester City during the Barclays Premiership match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the City of Manchester Stadium on February 13, 2005 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Sharpe said the temper is still there, and manifested itself during a recent reunion.

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"When you see him on camera, you get a persona of him. He is slightly more relaxed when you see him away from the cameras, but that edge is there.

"I saw him about 18 months ago at a hotel and we were having a chat and a fella came up and asked whether he could take a photo with us in the background.

"Keaney told him to do one, with a load of profanities, telling the fella he was annoying us. I said to him that he needed a calm down and Roy just said: 'I'm getting worse as I get older’.”