Manchester United legend Roy Keane is, in the eyes of some fans, the hardest player in Premier League history.
He’s certainly part of the conversation.
When Micah Richards and Alan Shearer ranked the Premier League’s hardest players in 2021 for Match of the Day’s Top 10 podcast, Keane finished third on the list ahead of Vinnie Jones, Jaap Star, Patrick Vieira, Stuart Peace, David Batty, Julian Dicks and Diego Costa.
Only Nemanja Vidic and Duncan Ferguson, who was named the Premier League’s hardest ever player by both Richards and Shearer, finished higher.
Keane, Vidic and Ferguson are footballers from a bygone era. As well as being able to dish it out, they could also take it.
You’d never catch any of them rolling around theatrically like a lot of modern-day players do after being tackled.
Footage has emerged of Keane sustaining a nasty two-footed challenge from Everton’s Mitch Ward during a Premier League clash in 1999.
Ward flew in on Keane with his studs showing. He may have won the ball, but it was a tackle that would almost certainly have resulted in at least a yellow card – and very possibly a straight red – in today’s game.
However, Keane’s reaction sums up the Irishman and shows how much football has changed over the past 20 years.
Video: Roy Keane’s reaction to two-footed tackle
Watch the footage here:
Keane barely flinched. He got straight back to his feet, exchanged a little word with Ward, and the pair both cracked on like nothing had happened.
Let’s check out some of the reaction to the footage:
What else happened in this match?
Ward wasn’t booked for the challenge and the two sides went on to secure a point apiece after a 1-1 draw.
Dwight Yorke opened the scoring for United from an Andy Cole assist in the seventh minute, but Stam’s own goal in the closing stages saw Everton avoid defeat in front of their home supporters at Goodison Park.
They don’t make ’em like Keane anymore
Keane was no stranger to getting into scraps with opponents – we recently revisited the incident with Shearer which resulted in the United captain considering early retirement – throughout his glittering career.
Read more: ‘I’ve had enough’ – Man Utd hero Roy Keane wanted to retire after Alan Shearer clash
But he must have been convinced that Ward was trying to win the ball fairly, rather than attempting to leave one on him, judging by his calm reaction to being two-footed.
They don’t make ‘em like Roy Keane anymore.
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