Richard Keys during the beIN Sport coverage of West Ham United against Southampton, April 2023.

Exploring Richard Keys’ worrying vendetta against Wout Weghorst

Wout Weghorst has made a powerful enemy during his loan spell at Manchester United – former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has been busy throwing stray haymakers in the Dutchman’s direction since the turn of the year.

Weghorst has struggled for goals since arriving at Old Trafford in January, scoring twice in 19 appearances despite his influence being praised by United boss Erik ten Hag.

But that’s not enough to sate Keys, as his descent into bitter vendetta against the beanpole striker demonstrates…

‘Playing with 10 men’

“You’re playing with ten men most weeks if he’s [Weghorst] in,” Keys told beIN SPORTS after Weghorst blanked in United’s 3-0 win over Leicester in mid-February.

“I mean, he doesn’t do enough to justify a starting place does he? Come on, let’s be honest!”

Bruno Fernandes 1-0 Richard Keys

The comments of the hairy-handed one attracted the attention of Fernandes, who offered a stinging rebuke after the Leicester victory.

“Sometimes it’s like this, you want the ball to go in and it’s a matter of time,” the United midfielder said.

“As a striker, you always want to score goals but he’s doing his job, doing a lot of runs that we need, the pressure that we need.

“This is why he’s still playing. It’s a matter of time until he gets his goals. After he gets the first he will open something that will give him more and more goals so he can help the team even more.”

Take that, Keysie.

Manchester United's Wout Weghorst greets supporters after the Europa League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Manchester United and Real Betis at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, Thursday, March 9, 2023

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Weghorst defends himself

After becoming the target of Keys’ ire, Weghorst attempted to defend himself in the media.

“Of course, I have played in some different positions, it’s also new to me,” the Netherlands international said. “What I can bring to the team? I hope lots of energy, I hope the belief.

“Of course, I am someone who is giving a lot of effort against the ball also, try to get high pressure on the opponent, get the guys around me free.

“Of course, get myself also free and scoring goals so that’s definitely a point we need to improve, because I know I’m capable of bringing that also to the team.

“That’s something that so far hasn’t worked as we wanted, as we planned, but overall I’m just somebody who is giving his all to the team with a lot of energy and trying to win all these trophies we’re still capable of.”

‘You can’t count Weghorst’

“The way United were playing I’d have fancied Fulham to beat them with 10 anyway,” Keys wrote after the FA Cup quarter-final between the Premier League pair on March 19.

“Sending Willian off only evened things up. United only had 10 on. You can’t count Weghorst.”

Weghorst strikes back

“That’s a lot of matches and it shows the trust in me,” Weghorst told the media after criticism from Keys and Paul Scholes following the Fulham game. “It also shows that I am doing a good job for the team.

“That was the thing I wanted when I came here – to contribute and try and help the club to be successful to win trophies. We have one now.”

You tell ’em, Wout.

Gary Neville commentating for Sky Sports during a match at Wembley Stadium.

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‘Nout Workhorse’

Our hero slammed Weghorst once more following the striker’s insipid display in the loss at Newcastle on April 2.

“I agree that they’ve made progress – but this isn’t a title-winning side,” Keys posted on his peerless blog. “They’ll never win a title with Nout Workhorse in the side.

“Seriously – why do they play him? His supporters tell me he’s doing something right because he’s starting games. Really? What is it then?

“And don’t tell me he’s a ‘pressing monster’ or that he ‘starts the backwards press’ whatever that means.

“Ten Hag justified his plans to sign him permanently by telling us that last week – and went on to add that Workhorse ‘creates space for players’. I’ll tell you what – he’d create more space if he wasn’t on the pitch.

“The bottom line is that he’s a bang ordinary centre-forward who doesn’t score goals and isn’t good enough to play for United.

“Ten Hag sounds like a desperate man trying to justify a mistake every time he talks about him.”

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