Rio Ferdinand has often reflected on his early life at Manchester United, with Roy Keane coming down particularly hard on him after he joined the club on a world-record fee for a defender.
A few years ago, Ferdinand talked about how Keane tore a strip off him when he played a simple ball in training, which went on to have an impact on how he played going forward.
I got the ball and passed to Gary, who was on my team. In a normal game that was a great ball – pass to your teammate, go up the pitch. And then Keane turned round and just started going: ‘Pass it forward, take risks, you’re not at Leeds or West Ham now, you’re at Manchester United!’
I got home later that day and thought: ‘This guy is nuts, how am I going to deal with him on a daily basis?’ And then I realised that you’ve got to take chances and that’s how I ended up playing my career. Not just passing the simple ball to Gary, but into the strikers to make a difference.
However, Ryan Giggs in his interview with the Daily Mail has talked about how on another occasion, when Keane blasted a ball at Rio which he miscontrolled, that it was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who stuck the knife in.
“Is this all you get for £30 million these days?” was Solskjaer’s dig, according to Giggs.
See, he’s not the nicest bloke in the world like people say he is and that’s because we rubbed off on him! Ole was the nicest guy in the world until we got hold of him. When you got in that environment with us it was a tough school and you changed. You had to. That day with Rio we were just testing a new player and if Ole hadn’t said it then someone else would have. That’s what it was like. Every day. It helped us to win.