WITH every weekend that passes, there seems to be another gem of a quote from Roy Keane that emerges.
The former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland captain has always been opinionated but now it is actually his job to give his thoughts on the latest on goings in the Premier League.
It is just over two months since Keane officially joined Sky Sports as a pundit and he has been entertaining viewers on a weekly basis since.
“The biggest factor today I think were West Ham. They were rubbish, absolute rubbish, an absolute disgrace,” said the Cork native on Saturday evening.
He wasn’t even in attendance when West Ham were beaten by Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur side and the match wasn’t even on Sky Sports. It was televised on BT. But the chance was presented to him to slaughter the Hammers and he took it as only Roy Keane can.
“It was an easy day for Tottenham, I know they made hard work of it in the last 15 or 20 minutes, typical Tottenham,” he added.
He just couldn’t resist a slight dig at the North London club, even after they have won. Spurs fans are well used to Keane’s barbs about their club and their current side. It wasn’t that long ago that he came out with another few hard hitting lines following their narrow 2-1 loss to the European Champions Liverpool away at Anfield.
“The two Tottenham full-backs were dreadful. Dumb and Dumber, I’d call them,” said Keano. At the time of writing that video, which was quickly picked out from that Super Sunday programme and uploaded to Sky Sports Football’s official Youtube account, has just over one million views.
“I thought they were really poor. You can’t compare them to Liverpool, the two lads who are absolutely fantastic. Particularly going forward, okay defensively there’s parts of the games they can improve on, but going forward they’re absolutely fantastic,” he then said.
The comments drew laughs from Jamie Carragher, Graeme Souness and Gary Neville who were also in the studio.
But is it actually good punditry? Sure it’s entertaining, but is he actually doing the job properly? Probably not.
“I didn’t think they were helped by the narrowness. Eriksen and Son in those wide areas — Son did it a lot better than Eriksen,” said Gary Neville moments later.
Neville is one of the best pundits in the business and rather than resorting to name calling he offered an alternative and tactical view on why the fullbacks struggled.
As a former fullback himself, it was an interesting observation. Keane himself mentioned that Trent Alexander Arnold and Andrew Robertson can improve defensively but failed to go into more detail.
He has won numerous Premier League titles, he has won the Champions League, he has managed in the Premier League and the Championship and was, of course, an assistant manager at International level. He has enough knowledge to be able to go into more detail.
He has also stated that he would like to get back into club management, maybe once he evolves as a pundit he may get the opportunity to do that at a good level once again.
Keane will always be regarded as the greatest footballer to come out of Cork (Denis Irwin a close second) even at a time when Leeside can lay claim to a 21 year old that has just won a Champions League winners medal and has his entire career still ahead of him.
But he isn’t the best pundit to come out of Cork. At the moment, that honour belongs to Damien Delaney.
Since retiring from professional football, the former Cork City centre back has featured heavily on Off The Ball and has been insightful, open, honest and informative.
“I remember under Alan Pardew he mixed the week up in a really funny way. We were off Sunday, in Monday, off Tuesday and then we had a three-day lead-in for the game,” Delaney recalled on Newstalk’s sports programme.
“We had a couple of really good results doing it and everything was going great. Then he stuck with it and some of the players ended up saying to him ‘We feel a touch leggy in the warm-up'.
“He wouldn’t mix it up though and he said ‘No we’re happy with this’. Now he had his reasons for that but I don’t know why.
“After a while, he switched it up and most managers now front-load the early part of the week and Friday is just a walk-through."
It was an interesting insight into the mind-set of a Premier League club and its manager. He also shares his opinions tactically and can be critical when he feels it is merited. It’s that balance that is key to being a good pundit in my own opinion.
“Oh Gary, Gary, it’s two yards, man! I guarantee if you done the same, do you think we’d be telling you off? If you didn’t close somebody down. Of course we would! He’s back there. He’s already back there. It’s two yards. Get out to him like your life depended on it.”
That’s the good side of Keane’s television appearances. That glimpse you get of what made him such an incredible player.
'It’s two yards, man.'
That’s coming from a captain that didn’t want any of his players to give up a single inch on the pitch.
That’s the side of Keane we need to see more of on our screens, more insight than over the top criticism..