12 times Roy Keane has ripped into a Manchester United player in 2021

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Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane

Manchester United have been incredibly inconsistent throughout 2021 and that has provided Roy Keane plenty of material to work with. 

Keane has never held back in criticising the club he served with such distinction and some of his comments about United this year have been box-office for viewers of Sky Sports.

We’ve looked at times where the former Republic of Ireland international has criticised United’s players during 2021.

David de Gea

After gifting Everton an equaliser in a 3-3 draw in February, De Gea was on the receiving end of stinging criticism from Keane.

“Listening to Ole and the last few performances and the goalkeeper last night… they probably don’t have the belief they can challenge Man City,” Keane said.

“And if you don’t have the belief you can do it, then there’s a good chance you won’t do it.

“I’m certainly not his (De Gea’s) biggest fan, two goals last night, the one thing you want from your goalkeeper is courage and he didn’t show that for the equalising goal. Not a good sign.”

Luke Shaw

Shaw is currently looking like a shadow of the player who performed so well for United and England last season.

After the Liverpool game, Keane said: “These guys are on the back of a good European Championships for England. They’ve turned up for big matches. But recently? Shaw has fallen back into his old habits of a few years ago.”

And after Shaw’s error let Bernardo Silva score in the Manchester derby, the former midfielder said: “These are international footballers.

“Look at Luke Shaw and David de Gea. What chance have you got in this game? I’ve been cursing these fellas for years. I give up, I give up on these players.”

Harry Maguire

Maguire’s form has dropped off a cliff in recent weeks, culminating in his shocking performance against Liverpool, which caused Keane to say: “Harry Maguire talking about needing to come together as a group.

“No. You need to sort your game out. If you’re going to be the leader of that group you need to get the basics right, do your own job.

“People keep saying he might not be fit. Might not be fit? He gave away a goal against Leicester a few weeks ago, it was nothing to do with fitness. It was a lack of professionalism, not doing his job properly.”

Keane’s imitation of the United defender became an instant meme. Comedy gold.

Harry Maguire (again)

You might have thought the international break would give the United captain a week off from Keane’s ire. You might think scoring England’s opener against Albania got him some kudos. Think again.

Keane was apoplectic at Maguire’s celebration, cupping his ears with a message for his critics.

“He puts his hand to his ear. He’s like shutting the critics up but I think that’s embarrassing,” he said, speaking at half-time on ITV.

“He’s been a disgrace the past few months for Manchester United. He thinks [because] he scores there he’s going to shut his critics up. Embarrassing.”

Bruno Fernandes

Fernandes was United’s golden boy last season but still received criticism from Keane after their 4-2 defeat to Liverpool in May.

“I don’t want to be critical of Fernandes but he spent half the night crying on the pitch,” Keane said on Sky Sports. “United players were looking for Liverpool to kick the ball out of play but you only stop with a head injury.”


After the 3-1 win against Spurs in April, Keane was moved to say:  “It’s just as well Fred scored because I thought he was dreadful.

“I don’t know what people are talking about saying that he played well, I thought he was dreadful. It’s good link-up play [for the equaliser], quick play, quick one-two around the box. Fred on the spot, I even thought he was going to miss that.”

And, in August, Keane spoke about the midfielder again. “I don’t want to mention Fred again because I seem to be on his case all the time,” he said.

“But sometimes I think if you’re going to play in central midfield for a big team and a big club you got to hang your hat on something to say he’s brilliant at going forward, or he’s brilliant defensively or he’s got a goal in him, or he’s a great athlete.

“I don’t see any of them in Fred.”

Scott McTominay

“I look at the two midfielders, McTominay is a good honest player, they have got Fred,” Keane observed after losing to Liverpool in May.

“As long as those two players are playing in midfield for Manchester United they will not be winning any big trophies.”

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

“Wan-Bissaka, I don’t even think Palace would take him back,” the former United captain said before their game against Tottenham in October. “He’s not good enough for Manchester United. No feel for the ball, decision making.”

Paul Pogba

Speaking on ITV after France’s defeat to Switzerland at Euro 2020, Keane said: “No doubt it would be frustrating [to play with Pogba], but this is all part of Paul’s character that people love to see and it’s great.

“But then I’d be looking at the goal they conceded in injury time when he was sloppy in midfield, that’s the bit I’d be really critical.

“It seems harsh because he’s done some brilliant stuff going forward today, there’s no doubt in Paul’s quality, it’s just the other side, maybe his maturity.

“United have had these problems. Can he play in a two midfield? He probably can’t, he hasn’t got the discipline.

“Even today he leaves you frustrated, even with his brilliant quality going forward he lacks that discipline defensively.

“The top players do it week-in and week-out and Paul doesn’t quite do it.”

READ: 15 of the best quotes on Roy Keane: ‘He’d rather die of exhaustion than lose’

Edinson Cavani

“I kind of hope in one sense they don’t keep him because then they might look and think ‘we don’t need to go and get another (striker),” Keane said about Cavani in May.

“He’s 34, if you’re hanging your hat on Cavani next year to getting United back to winning league titles, forget about it.

“He’ll be a back-up striker and he won’t want to be a back-up striker, so that’s why he’s reluctant to sign a new contract and there’s obviously family reasons behind it.”

Donny van de Beek

“Are you saying van de Beek is the answer?” exclaimed Keane after the defeat to Manchester City in November.

“He was in at the back end of last season and he was average, very average.”

Dean Henderson

Henderson was in competition for the goalkeeping jersey at United before De Gea started the 2021-22 season in fine form. And his performance in the 4-2 defeat to Liverpool may not have helped his cause.

“He looked so small in the goal,” Keane said. “That is my worry for Henderson, good mentality, good temperament, good with his feet, but I have seen a few goals go in recently where he looked so small in the goal and he looked tiny there for the fourth goal.

“He needs to be given a run of games but tonight he might think it’s not my best night but you’ve got to give him a run of games.

“They can’t go back to De Gea, I don’t think he is the answer either. My worry is his presence, he looks so small which is a big concern going forward.”

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