Roy Keane administers praise in the same manner as a cutaway gag on Family Guy; randomly, out-of-the-blue and leaving the viewer with no idea what to expect.
But the closest we’ll ever get to ticking off our Keane bingo cards – You don’t have one? Are you mad? – was his reaction to Casemiro scolding Bruno Fernandes in the immediate aftermath of Manchester United’s first trophy in six seasons.
With United cruising to victory, many would’ve forgiven Fernandes for opting to shoot rather than tee up Casemiro for a clincher that would’ve been entirely academic.
Unsurprisingly, the Brazil international didn’t see it that way. You probably don’t win all those Champions Leagues with Real Madrid with a live-and-let-live mentality.
As the United squad leapt around the Wembley turf like they’d just necked a cocktail of Mentos and Coke, Casemiro made a beeline for Fernandes and unceremoniously tugged his shirt to grab his attention
As Scott McTominay hovered in the immediate vicinity, wearing the widest smile in Christendom, Casemiro proceeded to give the kind of lecture unseen out of primary school classrooms after an overly-enthusiastic boy pulls on a girl’s pigtails.
Up the studio, Keane practically purred. “Are they arguing there?” he said. “Yep, maybe. I like that. I don’t know what they’re arguing about, but it shows they care.”
Casemiro telling Bruno he should of passed after winning, IM DEAD 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ooki6aaz5g
— UtdPlug (@UtdPlug) February 26, 2023
Casemiro was deservedly named Man-of-the-Match after scoring the opener and prowling across midfield like an unceasingly persistent bulldog chasing a wasp.
It’s made a mockery of those who doubted whether the 30-year-old was a wise signing for United last summer, with Peter Schmeichel voicing his concerns at the time.
“I’m surprised, I have to be honest,” Schmeichel said.
“Because Casemiro hasn’t been mentioned at all through the window. Also, if you are No 6 for Manchester United, you are supposed to drive and take part in the game.
“Ten Hag says he wants to be in possession and control the game, and he wants to put pressure on the ball. That’s a big difference from La Liga. And even playing in the Champions League.
“I’m surprised that this player is now mentioned … at that amount of money, at those wages, at that age, when we don’t know if he can do the job.”
Any doubts have since been extinguished. Some are even comparing his impact to Eric Cantona’s.
“Casemiro is such an important player, he’s been in big places and how you see him on the pitch is the way he is off it – just a really calm guy,” Fernandes said before the final.
“He doesn’t speak English really well yet but in the way of football, the way he can communicate with his teammates, he speaks really well.
“Does he ever lose it? He has his moments, although he can’t speak to some players because he can’t really speak in English. As a leader, he knows when he has to be a little bit tough and when he has to be more composed.”
And nothing underlined his leadership qualities, and how United have changed, than bollocking a team-mate immediately after silverware had been secured.
One can imagine Keane wiping a tear from his eye in his London hotel room afterwards. And there can be no greater praise than that.
By Michael Lee