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Highlights on Off The Ball

'Roy Keane is compromised there' | Can Keane be honest about MUFC?

The punditry of former Republic of Ireland footballer Roy Keane was heavily criticised on the Sun...


'Roy Keane is compromised there' | Can Keane be honest about MUFC?

The punditry of former Republic of Ireland footballer Roy Keane was heavily criticised on the Sunday Paper Review on Off The Ball.

Irish Daily Star chief sports writer Kieran Cunningham and Irish Examiner columnist Kieran Shannon both thought that Keane was not as honest about Manchester United as he could have been following a lacklustre Manchester derby on Saturday.

In his post match comments on on Sky Sports Keane focused on the players’ reactions and celebrations following a goal, saying, ‘I have never seen so many hugs’.

The king of banter?

Cunningham believes that the Cork man has a habit of saying just as little is required to be considered banter, and grab headlines away from the match itself.

“It has become a bit wearisome,” Cunningham said. “Every time Roy Keane is on Sky, you have a check on Twitter what is trending, Roy Keane is trending.

“When United are playing and he is not on TV, and they are not performing well, he is still trending because people are going, ‘Oh I wish Roy Keane was there, I’d love to know what he said’.

“I remember Roy Keane when he retired as a professional footballer and he was asked what he would miss about football, and he said ‘banter’.

“Now he has become the king of banter, he has become the king of the banter age.”

Cunningham thinks that Keane does not even have to work at making his normal, newsworthy comments because they are often line up for him.

“The stuff is served up to him now,” Cunningham said. “I was watching last night, and it showed John Stones, who was man of the match and had a very good game, hugging Harry Maguire afterwards.

“Straight away, you could hear Micah Richards start to laugh, so you knew they were going to ask him, you knew they were going to get the reaction.

“’Roy Keane hits out at hugs; hugs are the ruination of society’. Now it has become his shtick.

“It is kind of disappointing that Roy Keane has gone down that road, because he was a really interesting guy when he was being interviewed as a player, but now I think he has become a very one-note pundit.”

Roy Keane Manager Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane prior to the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

While the former footballer had a reputation for interesting interviews as a player, Shannon believes that Keane is not the same as he used to be.

“I can echo what Kieran is saying about Keane’s punditry in general,” Shannon said. “[He says things] that makes an entertaining pundit for a lot of the population.

“I do think Keane has become a caricature of himself, and it is has become predictable.”

Shannon suggested that Keane’s comments often distract from what should be the main news, and that is the performance of the teams.

“You would think the biggest thing [to come from the Manchester derby] would be where is the United project now,” Shannon said.

“It is coming up to the week that [Jose] Mourinho got sacked; we are coming up to two years on [Ole Gunnar] Solskjær’s appointment.

“The question for Manchester United is, where are you under Solskjær? Is it that he is not too bad to fire, not too good to retain; [Mauricio] Pochettino is available?

“I would be much more interested in that. It just seems like low-hanging fruit to ask him about the interaction between players.”

Roy Keane Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (r) is congratulated on scoring his second goal of the game by teammate Roy Keane. Matthew Ashton/EMPICS Sport

Keane is not the most honest pundit

Keane is often held to a high regard by his supporters as being a very honest pundit, suggesting that he would not detract from the key questions.

Cunningham, though, does not believe that he is ‘the most honest pundit’.

“To be honest, he is very selective,” Cunningham said. “He keeps saying these players will get Ole sacked.

“It is always the players, or him with a lot of ex-United players, it is the Glazers or [Ed] Woodward.

“I am not saying any of those are blameless, but they do deflect from their friend all the time. And Ole Gunnar Solskjær has got Keane in to talk to the players on a number of occasions.

“So, he is compromised there, and this isn’t addressed, and that is why I don’t really buy this thing that he is the most honest voice on United.”

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Joe Molloy Kieran Cunningham Kieran Shannon Manchester City Manchester Derby Manchester United Mauricio Pochettino Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Roy Keane