In one regard, he is old school. In how he expects players to behave, he reminds me of Alan Ball. The England World Cup winner also found being a manager of players to be a tough job. Time moves on and Ball found younger players to care less than he did. During his managerial stints so far, it is clear Keane has often been disappointed with the application of players he managed.
During my years filming big games at Wembley I had occassion to deal with the then Manchester United midfielder and found him to be friendly and co-operative. He came across to me as nothing like the tough guy image he had on the pitch. He called a spade a shovel even back then and he never suffered fools at all, let alone gladly.
I disagreed with how he walked out on his Republic of Ireland colleagues in Saipan. I was on the side of manager Mick McCarthy at that time. Keane has mellowed a little since those days and I’ve warmed to him more.
This week Keane released his second autobiography (how many autobiographies can one person write before it becomes silly?)
In the book he tackles arguments he had with Sir Alex Ferguson, his former goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and others.
In the book Keane is often in a reflective mood.
He says: “I look back at the players I played with and count my blessings. But there is a certain lack of characters and good lads out there nowadays. I don’t miss the carry on that goes on among players these days.”