What four players who Roy Keane managed said about him as Celtic job looms
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Roy Keane is firmly in the running to land his next job in management with a return to Celtic, where he ended his playing career.
The Irishman, who was known for his hostile style of play on the pitch, has taken that into his managerial career too, based on testimonies of his former players.
The fiery Manchester United legend has been the top dog at Sunderland and Ipswich Town in the past, while taking up assistant posts with Ireland, Aston Villa and most recently, Nottingham Forest.
Over the past few months, fans have become accustomed to hearing his blunt yet highly entertaining opinions from the Sky Sports studio.
However, he is hoping to return to the dugout with Celtic, and he will be looking to make as much of an impact as his former players said he had.
Journeyman defender Caldwell was at Sunderland when Keane took up his first job in management.
The Scot denies that he was ever scared of his old boss, but said that he did not take the time to get to know his players.
“He was a difficult man,” explained Caldwell. It was his first job and I think he still had a player’s mentality. He could either be really good or nonsensical.
“I was injured when he came in. I’d done my knee in a game against Birmingham so I didn’t play for a while but then played a number of games.
“I thought it would be okay, but he wanted me to go and brought in Jonny Evans on loan. He formed a great partnership with Nyron Nosworthy and they ended up winning the Championship.
“I went off to Burnley, no hard feelings. You have to move on. Roy isn’t a warm person; I knew him for a few months so maybe I’m not the person to say, but sometimes he would walk straight past you in the corridor, other times he would have a chat with you.
“It was so up and down with him. I think he revels in the character he’s created. He’s also got a brilliant football mind, but it was a tough time in my career.
“We had quite a messy end, and I was saddened by that, but that’s football. I don’t think he handled many relationships well. He was very combustible. Maybe he’s mellowed out now, but as a coach, you have to get to know people and he never took the time to do that.
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“The one thing I didn’t like about when I left was that he said I was good at organising parties, nights out and events. I just thought, ‘Well, I was more than that.’
“I had no fear of Roy Keane. The public thinks that everyone is scared of him; I never thought that once. I was more scared of other managers; guys you wouldn’t believe, like Chris Hughton, Walter Smith, these guys are scary.
“But when Roy got into that erratic state, it wasn’t scary, it was weird. There are other people who know him better, but that’s my experience.
“If you shout and shout, eventually people stop listening. Chris was a brilliant guy, and when you gain so much respect for someone, if you let him down or he was angry, it was scary. I wouldn’t mess with him.”
Former winger Carlos Edwards played under Keane twice, in fact, having been signed from Sunderland by Keane for Ipswich in 2009.
And as a bit of a personal favourite, it appears he is one of the only players who had a positive encounter with the fiery Irishman.
“I remember we played Plymouth in my first season at Sunderland,” Edwards told The Athletic. “I absolutely tore the left-back a new a******.
“Roy was telling the players, ‘Give Carlos the ball’. I ran so hard up and down. I was cramping up. But then every time I got the ball, Roy was screaming, ‘Run at him!’
“I was thinking, ‘Is he f****** taking the p***?’ I was running off fumes. But I relished it because he knew I had the beating of the guy and he gave me that little push to go the extra mile.
“There are certain players who are ready to give up when they are tired. That is when he went mental.
“You can try and sugarcoat it, but he did not like players who did not give 100 per cent. He could forgive losing if you gave their all.
“When you look back at certain things, players who know what he is like sit back and say, ‘He was right’. I just laugh with him on the telly now. He hasn’t changed one bit.
“At Ipswich, he put me on from the bench, I gave the ball away and we lost 3-1. In the changing room, he came in and said ‘When I put you on, it is to help the team, not harm the team!’
“I shrugged my shoulders, almost involuntarily, so as to say, ‘Yeah, I accept that.’ But he took it as me shrugging my shoulders as though I didn’t care. I didn’t mean it that way. He was shouting ‘Yeah, you shrug your shoulders, you shrug your shoulders’.”
Ex-Ipswich midfielder David Norris insists that he “loved” playing for Keane, even if his abrasive style even cost Norris his place in the starting XI one time.
He recalls: “It felt like half the dressing room didn’t want to play for him and the other half were too scared to play for him.
“He could be very cutting and it was a bit too much for some people. In training, the lads would get in a circle, put two in the middle for a short passing drill, someone would put the ball through someone else’s legs and everyone jumps around laughing and cheering.
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“It’s what players do. You could see him looking across and just thinking ‘Look at this lot laughing and cheering’. You could see him seething.
“When it came to tearing people apart, he would not hold back. It could get quite personal at times. He could be in your face shouting and screaming at half-time or after the game.
“I answered him back after a game and he came flying in my face. ‘Who the f*** do you think you are? When you have done this, you can speak to me…’
“He just absolutely shredded me. We won the game, too. The next day, we were preparing for the Tuesday game and I was on the bench. The message was clearly not to answer him back again.”
Now-manager of Bury AFC, Welsh played a few times under Keane at Sunderland, but admits that having been away from the club on loan and injury struggles made life hard for him under Keane.
"It wasn't a great time for me when he [Keane] came in because I was coming back from injury," he told the Under The Cosh podcast earlier this year.
"As soon as he came in he signed – and did brilliant for the club – Ross Wallace and Tobias Hysen and they did fantastically well and the club still won the league.
"There is also part of me that feels like I could have been a part of it but wasn't given an opportunity. I just didn't feel like my face was going to fit and I went on loan to Leicester again until Christmas.
"I came back from my loan there – I remember me and my missus got back to Sunderland that night – and I got my phone call from my uncle who was bringing my grandpa back from Scotland.
"My grandpa had a heart attack and had to go to Carlisle hospital. I shot over from Sunderland to Carlisle and I was really close to my grandpa and I rang Keane. He said he needed me back at training because I was going to be involved.
"Now I've just come back from a loan at Leicester and the lads are flying. I've not thought anything of it and gone to see him and explained the situation.
"He's gone 'do you want to be involved at this football club'
"I said that wasn't what I was saying. Funnily enough the next game was Leicester away. I've said I'm not involved but I've been away for the last three months."
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While he added of Keane's reaction to a potential move to Toronto: "I went in to speak with Roy Keane and I wasn't going to just walk away from a contract. I've gone in and sat down. From minute one it's just a tirade of abuse on me right. I've turned down these other clubs and made him look silly.
"I said I've not come here to be spoken to like that I'm contracted with the club so if it's going to be like this I'll just leave it at that.
"As I've gone to stand up he's gone 'Sit the **** down.' He's started walking round the table and he's gone 'I don't know who you think you are walking out on me. I'm walking out on you.' He walked out and that was the last time I spoke to him.”
- Celtic FC
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