Roy Keane has built a professional career with his no-nonsense criticism of football players.
As a former Manchester United captain and midfielder, Keane has never been shy when it comes to tearing apart United’s current squad of midfielders. In the studio, as on the field, Keane has not held back.
With that in mind, this is exactly what he thinks about United’s midfielders.
ALSO READ: Liverpool great Robbie Fowler lashes out at Gary Neville’s ‘laughable’ Man United manager suggestion
In 2021, Keane was furious at Fred’s performance at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He told his Sky Sports colleagues: “Sometimes I think when you’re going to play in midfield for a big club you have to hang your cap on something to say ‘well he’s brilliant at moving forward’ or ‘he’s brilliant defensively’.” or “he’s got a goal in him” or “he’s great at”…I don’t see them in Fred, none of them.”
However, after Fred’s improving showings for the club, Keane finally made a surprise U-turn. Speaking after United beat Leeds, a game in which Fred scored, the former United captain quipped on Sky Sports: “Fred, to be honest, he has improved in recent months.
“Fred has been criticized, yes, by Robbie [Keane]† He added a few goals and assists, it was time for him.”
Scott McTominay, along with Fred, has received a lot of criticism from Keane. The ex-United captain once claimed his former club “wouldn’t win any trophies with Fred and McTominay in the middle.”
“People are talking about Fred and McTominay in midfield, they’ve had their chance, we’ve seen them,” he told Sky Sports in 2020.
“I don’t think they’re bad players, but they won’t bring United back to winning league titles. Tim [Cahill, fellow pundit on Sky] makes a point about that Man United have great players, I don’t see it, I don’t see the great players. If you think that Fred and McTominay in midfield will take Man United back to the top of winning titles, then you’re living in cuckoo country.”
After letting a 2-0 lead slip away from Aston Villa in January, Nemanja Matic’s idol, Keane, was less than impressed with his defensive prowess. “In any team, when you play in a team, you work with different guys who have different strengths and weaknesses,” explains Keane on Sky Sports.
“We know what Bruno’s is [Fernandes’] there are parts of the game he needs to improve on. But there are other guys on the team, Fred and Matic, to do that [defensive] side of the game, but they didn’t do it well enough.”
Of all United’s midfield options, Fernandes appears to be a player valued by Keane. His two goals against Villa in that game caught Keane’s attention, but that didn’t stop him from pointing out where he needs to improve.
He explained to Sky Sports: “I think when you play in the team and you score two goals, you have to be happy. There are other aspects of his game that he needs to improve on, especially when he talked about his leadership, but i think he should be happy with his performance.
“He scored two good goals. I liked his goals, his composure, his decision-making and I liked a lot of other things about his game.
“We know he’s a target threat and he’s gotten a lot of assists, which is important when you’re a goalscorer. We can analyze what players can’t do, but he does a lot more good than negative things.”
Keane clearly rates Pogba as a player, but in the past he has not held back his criticism of the Frenchman. He told ITV Sport after United were defeated by Middlesbrough in the FA Cup: “How many times do you have to talk about Pogba? He’s an outstanding talent, no doubt about it.
“He’s got the resume and trophies to back it up, but in his time at United I don’t think he’s been consistent enough. It’s a big few months for him from a selfish point of view when he’s looking at moving.” , or could he possibly stay at Man United? We don’t know about the manager, a talented boy, but he hasn’t done enough at Man United, he hasn’t been consistent enough.”
Sign up for our United newsletter so you never miss an update from Old Trafford again this season.