Erling Haaland is one brave man

11 people who have stood up to Roy Keane: Haaland, Souness, Klopp…

Despite being one of the most terrifying men in football, there are a few brave people who have dared to confront Roy Keane over the years.

The former Manchester United captain has never been afraid to air his opinions, inevitably upsetting a few players and managers in the process.

We’ve looked at 11 people who have stood up against Keane and tried to put him in his place.

Erling Haaland

Keane made the headlines when he described Haaland as a “League Two player” earlier this year.

“The levels of his general play are so poor,” Keane told Sky Sports at the end of March.

“Not just today, laying stuff off, headers, whatever it might be… in front of goal he is the best in the world but his general play for such a player is so poor.”

It’s safe to say that Haaland didn’t take those comments lying down and following a four-goal haul against Wolves, he took his chance to bite back at the Irish pundit.

When asked about Keane’s comments, Haaland told reporters: “I don’t really care that much about that man, so that’s all right.”

Graeme Souness

Two of the most intimidating men that British and Irish football have ever produced, squabbling over an Argentina penalty decision.

Get the popcorn out.

Jurgen Klopp

After watching Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 in 2020, Keane claimed that the Reds had been ‘sloppy’ at moments during the game.

Klopp overheard part of the analysis and was clearly irked by the remark, insisting it had been a perfect performance from his side.

“Did I hear right that Mr Keane said we had a sloppy performance tonight because I could hear you already? Did he say that?” Klopp asked.

“This was a sloppy performance tonight? Maybe he spoke about another game. It cannot be this game, sorry. That’s an incredible description. This was absolutely exceptional. Nothing was sloppy, absolutely nothing.”

The Sky Sports pundit looked stunned to be dragged into a debate and attempted to clarify his comments.

Water seems to have passed under the bridge since, with the pair sharing a laugh about it when they came face-to-face at Old Trafford.

Jon Walters

It’s fair to say Walters and Keane aren’t on each other’s Christmas card lists.

There’s a long-running feud between the pair and they almost came to blows when Walters tried to leave Ipswich Town in 2010.

“We’ve gone head-to-head. This is childish, 10 years ago, this is not me now.,” Walters told JOE in 2019. “But because I don’t like bullies, the way it’s gone, I’d stand up to them.

“So I was like, ‘Come on then, let’s have a fight. If you want to go for it, let’s go, hit me, hit me.’ He’s gone, ‘You hit me’ and we’ve gone back and forth. (I said) you bully everyone in the club, you bully the staff and the players, but I’m not scared of you, let’s have it me and you.’

“So we’ve gone head-to-head, ‘Hit me, you hit me’ and then it wasn’t happening, so I’ve gone to walk out the room. As I’ve gone, he said something very personal, something that’s nothing to do with him, but it’s touched a nerve with me. So I’ve shut the door behind me and come back in.

“I’ve said basically that – ‘It’s got nothing to do with you, come on then, let’s have it. Hit me first and see what happens to you, just give me the chance, I’ll rip your head off’ – that’s what I was basically saying to him.”

Walters got his move a few days after the row, joining Stoke City in a £2.75million deal.

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Pablo Counago

While we’re on the subject of former Ipswich Town forwards…

Keane berated Counago after a poor performance for the reserves and was stunned when the striker decided to stand up for himself.

“I went down to the dressing room after the game and had a go at him,” Keane said in his autobiography in 2014. “He went: ‘Well, how are we going to win anything with you as manager?’ I nearly physically attacked him – but I didn’t.”

After learning that he had been heavily criticised in Keane’s book, Counago hit back at his former Blues boss for a second time.

“It is a very sad ending for a person that was so big as a player. As I told him once, I think he is a complete mess as a football manager,” Counago told Ipswich website TWTD.

“As he has said in his book, he wanted to hit me, but behind his appearance there’s a coward. I just hope he can find happiness in his life as, in my opinion, being that miserable must be very mentally draining.”

Peter Schmeichel

Despite their incredible success on the pitch, Keane and Schmeichel didn’t always get along during their time together at Old Trafford.

“I had a bust-up with Peter when we were on a pre-season tour of Asia, in 1998, just after I came back from my cruciate injury,” Keane said in his autobiography in 2014. “I think we were in Hong Kong. There was drink involved.

“There’d been a little bit of tension between us over the years, for football reasons. Peter would come out shouting at players, and I felt sometimes he was playing up to the crowd: ‘Look at me!’

“He was probably doing it for concentration levels, but I felt he did it too often, as if he was telling the crowd: ‘Look what I have to deal with’.

“He said: ‘I’ve had enough of you, It’s time we sorted this out.’ So I said ‘Okay’ and we had a fight. It felt like 10 minutes. There was a lot of noise – Peter’s a big lad.

“I woke up the next morning. I kind of vaguely remembered the fight. My hand was really sore and one of my fingers was bent backwards.”

Micah Richards

While working as a pundit for Sky Sports, Richards was recalling how he burst onto the scene as a young player, but Keane wasn’t exactly having that version of events.

He tried to take the former England international down a peg in response, and asked: “Did you burst onto the scene?”

Instead of backing down, Richards held his own and responded: “Do you remember my header against Aston Villa? Do you not remember that, no?

“Well, hold on! I played for England at 18, youngest-ever defender to play for England. I would say that’s bursting onto the scene.”

Fair play, Micah.

Jamie Carragher

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came under criticism after Liverpool beat United 2-0 in January 2020, but Keane defended his former team-mate and called for him to get more time.

Carragher, however, questioned Solskjaer’s suitability for the job, sparking a hotly-contested debate between the pundits in the television studio.

We were half-expecting a fight to break out at one stage.

Jamie Redknapp

After Tottenham endured a dreadful start to 2021, Keane branded their players average but Redknapp attempted to defend them.

Redknapp, who spent three years playing for Spurs, passionately fought his corner and insisted that the team has some top-quality internationals in it. 

Micah Richards poked fun at the exchange a few weeks later, playing the role of a peacemaker as he likened the battle to a boxing match. 

Vinnie Jones

Box office stuff, this.

READ: Recalling Roy Keane v Vinnie Jones – the PL’s ultimate hard b*stard clash

Gabriel Heinze

Heinze joined United from PSG in 2004 and clearly wasn’t intimidated or scared by any of the big names in the dressing room.

“We lost a game and I went in the dressing room first and Roy Keane was second. I liked to go first after the game; I didn’t want to speak to anyone as we lost,” Heinze told Pura Quimica in 2017.

“I didn’t understand English, just the bad words. I heard my name and ‘f*ck off’ by Roy Keane, the best player.

“I knew that was bad so I stood up to him, this idol of Manchester, this great guy who everyone loved, and replied, ‘F**k off, you.’ I don’t remember what happened next.”

We bet he didn’t do that again.