Man Utd gym sessions proved Keane controlled big-name stars

Roy Keane is known as one of toughest guys to ever grace the Premier League, and his stern approach even spills into his punditry since retiring.

The Irishman was an old-fashioned midfielder that loved to get stuck-in, and regularly put his neck on the line for Manchester United, captaining the side for a number of years. Keane was a leader within a star-studded United team, that featured the likes of David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs over the years.

Gary Neville has described Keane as “the most influential football player I’ve ever seen, by a million miles,” and it proves that the Irishman had the respect of his team-mates. So much so, that Keane reportedly had the biggest stars round his little finger in United gym sessions.

That’s according to former United power development trainer Mick Clegg, who claimed that Keane had complete control of everyone in the gym during his time at the club. Clegg told The Independent: “Roy influenced everybody, because Roy maintained control, and kept people in order.

“You have to have somebody like that in a changing room, certainly at that time. When the players went into the gym, they knew Roy was very pro what I did.

“He really made it easy for me to work in the gym. All the players wanted to do it because – on a level of playing and training – Roy was the man.

Roy Keane controlled Manchester United's gym sessions
Roy Keane controlled Manchester United’s gym sessions

“Everyone’s bought into it, because Roy said it was good. So it all passed down to your Beckham’s, your Butt’s, your Jaap Stam’s. Ruud van Nistelrooy was magnificent, the most marvellous mind ever when it comes to understanding who he is, what he is and what he could do.

“Nemanja Vidic was a marvel to train. I was honoured. Roy wanted me on the pre-season tour. The gym became a centre. It was a marvellous time.

“They were combining speed training, sprint training, agility training with the skill. That’s what I encouraged. You do it all together because we’re actually trying to train the brain, so it all connects. If you isolate different training, it doesn’t fit as well.

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Cristiano Ronaldo was put through his paces when he arrived at Man Utd
Cristiano Ronaldo was put through his paces when he arrived at Man Utd

“It’s really about understanding the brain, as that connects everything. I studied at Montreux University to really understand brain cognition, and the layering of emotion, all the different aspects. You also need the individual psychology of people that use things in different ways, so you’re able to layer one thing on top of another to build up a pattern of how these things work.

“What you need is everything working together, so it grows together. That’s when a player grows.” Keane was clearly influential on the pitch too, as the Irishman won 17 trophies with United over a 12-year stint at Old Trafford.

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