Roy Keane has never been one to shy away from an abrasive opinion and today is no different as he has slammed Manchester United’s squad, focusing particularly on defensive duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling who he feels are lucky to be going to Brazil.
Keane questioned whether player was living up to expectations and believes that, if anything, they are worse now than when they moved to Old Trafford.
“We were told two or three years ago Jones was going to be the new Duncan Edwards, Smalling was this…,” Keane said.
“I’ve watched United live nine, 10 times this year and they have been none of those things. If anything, I think they have gone backwards.
“Jones needs to toughen up. Every time I see him, he is getting carried off. He’s got to toughen up – he’s playing for Man United.”
Keane is being harsh on both of them here.
When played as a centre back, Smalling has been very impressive this season, not so much at right-back where he has been forced to fill in quite a lot.
Jones doesn’t need to toughen up, he needs to smarten up. He said he would curtail his enthusiasm for full blooded 50/50 challenges after an awkward knee injury last season but hasn’t bucked the trend.
As for being labelled the new Duncan Edwards, that has done Jones no favours at all.
Further afield than Jones and Smalling, Keane also gave a special mention to Carrick who he feels cannot fall back on previous performances to warrant a spot in any squad.
“I bet you he wasn’t shocked he was left out,” he added.
“You can’t fall back on what players did two years ago because if you are not performing or if there is competition in the same position then that is the nature of the beast. You are going to be left out.
As for the rest of the squad, Keane believes United need to sign ‘five or six players in total’ including a new centre-half and thinks there are plenty of players who can be worried about their future at the club.
He said: “You’re on about players who have not performed – Valencia, Young, Nani, Carrick. You shouldn’t be afraid of rebuilding.”
Keane also refused to fully blame David Moyes for the season and called on Ed Woodward to buck up his ideas, something every fan will agree with.
“I think Ed Woodward needs to look at himself. He’s got to get deals done,” he added.
Finally, Keane also took a different stance on Rio Ferdinand’s retirement than most and was unsympathetic as to how he left the club.
“He didn’t have a chance to say goodbye? You can say goodbye on Twitter, can’t you?” he said.