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Fletcher: Roy Keane Gave Me A Hard Time

In that infamous interview with MUTV, Roy Keane tore a strip off Fletcher, saying, “I can’t understand why people in Scotland rave about Darren Fletcher.” Ouch, but it was an opinion most reds agreed with at the time.

A few years down the line, Fletcher has won over the vast majority of us, putting in great performances against the top teams, this year showing his best form on a regular basis.

However, Fletcher believes it was Keane’s strong influence in the Scot’s younger days which has helped him become the player he is today.

“I’m the only one still here from my year group,” said Fletcher. “There were others who could control, pass and shoot the ball as good as me but I think football is played in your head. It is the way you deal with everything: being at Manchester United, the expectation, the crowd, the nervousness, all of that pressure. The game is played up there before you go on the pitch, and I had that strength. When I won my first medal, for the FA Cup, I was still staying in one room, in digs. That was where I went after the game. It kept you grounded. We didn’t have to clean boots but we had jobs. Mine was to pump up the first-team footballs to the right size. If you didn’t get it right, you got told in no uncertain terms by the likes of Roy Keane and Gary Neville. That was enough.”

Fletcher goes on to expand on his feelings for Keane, who had a massive influence on the Scot.

“Roy was probably the biggest influence on my career,” Fletcher added. “He would come down hard on me if I ever did anything wrong but he made me realise what it meant to be a Manchester United player. I can remember coming in from training one day and checking my mobile phone for text messages. Well, that was it. He absolutely hammered me, all the way into the gym. He was a great influence, really. If Roy had a go at you, he did it because he cared. He was the best captain you could wish for. He would tear you to shreds on the pitch if you gave away the ball, ‘get your effing touch right, effing this, effing that’ but, as soon as you got into the dressing room, it was over. He was a winner. I’ve met dedicated professionals but he had something else.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. costas says:

    Every veteran has their way of mentoring the youngsters.Giggs and Scholes have their own style but the truth is,when you needed a kick up the backside Roy was the man.

  2. gingerprince says:

    Come on Fergie bury the hatchet with Roy and make him your no.2 ………..although I doubt if Roy would ever come back as no.2

  3. costas says:

    gingerprince there is no burying the hatchet with him.I love him but at the moment the man is a loose cannon.He bashed Fergie after he left Sunderland.I am sorry to say but there is no room in the coaching stuff for both of them.

  4. gingerprince says:

    Fair enough Costas…………even I know these two will never get along and as for him coming back don’t see that happening atleast in Fergie’s lifetime…It’s a shame though because even when he was playing for us I always knew that one day Roy would manage us

  5. costas says:

    I thought so too.And i also thought that Eric might do the same.But usually it’s more quiet characters that make the best managers.People like Ole Solskjaer and Steve Bruce for example.

  6. SULLY says:

    “Get your effing touch right, effing this, effing that” Now that’s Roy Keane for you! You need a personality and aggression of Keano’s stature to replace Sir Alex. I’m all for Roy Keane after Fergie. Keano knows and understands Manchester United better than any of the names that are being bandied about for Sir Alex’s natural successor. I dont go past Roy Keane.

  7. Red Rooney says:

    Roy keane or cantona or giggs. but should be a united through and through.

  8. Jamal Yousuf Jaffer says:

    I dont believe that there any problem between Roy Keane and Fergie, Keane had a big problem with Niall Quinn since the time when they play together with Ireland republic, Keane said he will never talk and play with Niall Quinn at the end football is a sports, people forget and forgive and this excatly what Keane did with Quinn.
    Roy Keane when he was appointed as a Sunderland Manager first he called Fergie for advise and since than they were communicating each other, Fergie helped Keane and sold Kieran Richardson and loan Johhny Evans to Sunderland all this is to help Keane with his new team.
    Fergie door is always open to anyone for advise and friendship.

  9. Wiuru says:

    Roy was a natural leader . However, his man management skills are non existant.

  10. johnpanda says:

    Great captain and one of the greatest players of all time, but I’m not convinced of his coaching or management credentials. He’s a great enforcer but a manager needs to balance that out with tact and positivity, when required. Not sure Roy has that. Still one of my favourite players though. Legend.

  11. denton davey says:

    “Legend” is over-used but it applies to Keane-o. His determination and drive and energy were superior – imagine Georgie Best’s skills with that personality ! But, I agree with Wiuru, his man-management and inter-personal skills are non-existent. I think he’s burned his bridges with SAF – and the embers are probably still smoking.

  12. sean mc26 says:

    maybe his man management is bad, do you think SAF’s was always great when he joined he ran some of our best players not to methion stam aand Raud. Roy did an interview a couple of weeks ago for an Irish newspaper and he admitted his mistakes with players and he said he’d learned from it. What got up his nose at sunderland was some players thought they were doing him a favour by playing for the club they didnt give every thing 4 them team

  13. Jake says:

    wiuru and denton davey…complete rubbish…fletcher has just suggested otherwise in this very interview…niall quinn pulls keane out of nowhere because he trusts him to do a job for him, Sir Alex Ferguson made him club captain despite his ability to flip…you can say he is capable of being a very extreme person but ‘no man-management skills?’… one thing I can’t hack is some div kid rockin up with his copy of Wooly’s world out of the Daily Mirror to tell us all one of our longest serving captains has no man management skills…idiots

  14. n3o7 says:

    roy always gives others example of how to be a proper man utd player. He puts that deep in them so when he left they still have it in them

  15. wazza says:

    there is only one Keano !!!

  16. Suprah says:

    Keano was the greatest captain the Premiership had ever seen, and certainly the world as well. But his coaching career has shown he needs more time to actually make a name for himself. He is still too raw and fierce to be a top manager – a job that requires a cool head, focus, and lots of patience.

  17. KEN NJOROGE says:

    Its true Roy was our hero at Trafford, we respect him for that but him joining United will result to poor performances. His output at Sunderland speaks volume. We need the Villa coach for Fergie’s replacement

  18. john ferry says:

    You have to respect Sir Alex Ferguson, but his player management skills sometimes lack in the area of interpersonal communication. Yet, despite this flaw he is the greatest manager on the planet. Is he great because of his sometimes harsh nature ? or Is he great despite of it ? My take is that he is great despite this flaw. I personally don’t respond well to that type of management , but I understand that there are those that need to be kicked in the ass. Keano has the potential to one day be a great coach, it was sad to see him leave Sunderland. Keeping the faith in Keane to one day, in the distant future to come home.


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