Roy Keane, the hard-headed 5ft 10 midfielder from the south of Ireland could easily be named one of the most controversial soccer players in the English Premiership and certainly the most talented soccer player in Irish history.

Just like so many soccer players in Ireland, he started in a small local club with limited opportunity. An inspirational young teenager with the rawest talent tied down to the inexperience of the Cobh Ramblers Football Club. He started off in 1989 playing in a stadium holding barely 5,000 people in Cobh to hearing the roar of 76,000 Manchester United fans four years later when he completed a £3.75 million transfer.

Undoubtedly the hero of Irish soccer with his fiery personality on and off the field. A man fearless to voice his own opinion landed him with a hard-ass reputation. On the field for Manchester United, it wasn’t long before he was given his first red card for stamping on Crystal Palace player Garreth Southgate and was fined £5,000.

Also an incident between Keane and a rival player, Haaland, lead to the tearing of his cruciate ligament and the portrayal of his vengeful side. Four years later when the two players met again on the field, this time five minutes before the final whistle Keane ended Haaland’s career with a stud to knee tackle. “And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.”

A controversial player indeed not only for his days in the English Premiership but also for his country too. Tension between Keane and manager Mick McCarthy lead him to leave the squad in the 2002 World Cup held in Japan. I remember hearing it on the news, reading it in the papers, listening to it on the radio. Never mind the recession hitting Ireland hard in 2008 because Roy Keane leaving the Irish team was the most heartbreaking news the country had ever experienced. The country went mad.

He spoke out about the poor conditions of the training fields, travel arrangements where the managers and coaches fly in first class while the players fly in second, and most importantly their diet. Before the game against the Netherlands, the boys were eating cheese sandwiches because pasta wasn’t available. At a meeting before a game, McCarthy and Keane had a huge blow out. McCarthy accused Keane of faking injuries and Keane retaliated with words that finished his international career. Between the swearing, McCarthy was hit with the famous words: “I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person.”

I would like to interview Roy Keane to hear his side of the story instead of what stories the media have exaggerated. What does it take to escape being the underdog?

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