Former Manchester United star Jesper Blomqvist has been talking about what it’s like to play with legendary captain Roy Keane.
In an interview with The Athletic, Blomqvist said it took him a long time to get to understand the Irishman.
‘I thought he was mad and annoying. I couldn’t understand him and thought he was being egotistical.
‘He shouted a lot, especially at players like Phil Neville, but I realised that Roy was always putting the team first.
‘Alex Ferguson knew that, so let him continue. Roy also stood up for the players, whether it was on the pitch or off it with commercial decisions.
The 46-year-old, who now owns and runs a pizzeria in Stockholm, added:
‘He was driven and the harsh words were his way of trying to make you stronger. He was testing you and if you could take his hard words then you were ready for the biggest matches.
‘It took me a year to get used to him. You always want a player like Keane in your team, but they’re rare in today’s football.
‘Roy was number one in the dressing room and he had to be. He demanded more from the rest of the team.’
Blomqvist recalled that Keane had blamed him for missing the 1999 Champions League final.
‘Roy Keane blamed me for the pass I gave to him [in the 3-2 win over Juventus in the semi-final], which led to him being booked and suspended from the final’, he laughed.
‘It wasn’t the best ball in the world, but he had a bad first touch which lost possession.
‘It’s to his credit that he then had one of the greatest games of his career, but he was shouting at me in the dressing room after. He was so angry and saying, “It’s your f-cking fault that I’m going to miss the final”.
‘That was the way he worked, things were never his fault. I’ve seen Roy since and I can laugh now. We didn’t talk about that incident and I’ve changed my opinion, but at the time I didn’t care much for his attitude.
‘He went on about it for weeks and it became a bit of a joke in the dressing room.’
Of course, United went on to win that 1999 final in Barcelona and complete a historic treble that has never since been achieved by an English club.
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