Former Manchester United star Roy Keane says he was “too nice” during his playing days, leading to many betraying him over the years.
The ex-Ireland midfielder was famous throughout his career for his rough and physical style as well as his quick temper on and off the field.
Keane was sent off a total of seven times during his successful spell in Sir Alex Ferguson’s midfield and had several high-profile run-ins with the likes of Patrick Vieira, Alan Shearer and Alf Inge Haaland.
His confrontational nature ensured the controversies followed him into management, but he maintains his difficulties as a player and coach were a result of him being too nice to those around him.
“Sometimes I was too hard. Sometimes I was too soft,” he told the Irish Independent. “If I was critical, looking back on my own career and how I dealt with people, even in management – and people mightn’t believe this – but I reckon that sometimes I was too nice to people.
“People stabbed me right in my chest, it wasn’t in my back. Because I was too nice to them.”
Keane says he has always been a demanding figure and that his career would not have turned out the way it did had he tried to repress that side of him.
“That was who I was. Even pre-season, any game I ever took it easy in, I guarantee you I was the worst player on the park,” he added.
“I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t in my make-up. I had to be full pelt. If I lightened up too much in football, I would never have got to England. If I did, I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes.”
Keane joined United from Nottingham Forest in 1993 and spent 12 years at Old Trafford.
He captained the Red Devils for eight of those years and made 469 appearances and scored 51 goals for the club, lifting seven Premier League titles and a Champions League crown among others before he left to join Celtic before calling time on his career in 2006.