Roy Keane finds no room for Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand OR Eric Cantona in his greatest Manchester United XI of the Premier League era… so who DOES make the Old Trafford legend’s cut?
- Roy Keane has picked his starting XI from Man United’s Premier League history
- Legends including Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Eric Cantona did not make it
- Keane found space for Peter Schmeichel, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo
- The ex-midfielder agonised over his decisions and told tales of his teammates
Manchester United icon Roy Keane has picked some of the greatest names in the club’s history in his Premier League era starting XI – and left out legends including Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona.
Consistency was key for Keane as he listed his teamsheet from his illustrious spell at Old Trafford, emphasising how the likes of Gary Neville, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo immediately caught the eye for their attitude and class in training.
The former midfielder agonised over some of his decisions, admitting that he could have selected Steve Bruce over Jaap Stam and describing how Paul Ince was unfairly portrayed as a hardman off the pitch.
Roy Keane (bottom row, far right) agonised over selecting his Manchester United starting XI
Eric Cantona did not feature in a two-man attack starring Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo
Bryan Robson was an idol of Keane’s when he first joined the club, and Keane picked the ex-England captain while explaining that his ambition to displace Robson underlined how good United were in his heyday.
Keane was complimentary about many of his teammates, hailing Rio Ferdinand for his athleticism while explaining that he had to pick old friend Gary Pallister and exceptional all-rounder Jaap Stam at centre-back.
Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes were close to ousting Ince and Robson, and Keane admitted that he was worried about upsetting his former teammates – confessing that he had even upset himself while making his tough decisions.
KEANE’S UNITED XI
(4-4-2): Peter Schmeichel; Gary Neville, Gary Pallister, Jaap Stam, Denis Irwin; David Beckham, Paul Ince, Bryan Robson, Ryan Giggs; Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo
The only current United player in the starting XI is Cristiano Ronaldo, who Keane said he immediately took to because the future five-time Ballon d’Or winner did not want to delay his arrival at the club from Portugal.
Keane told Sky Sports: ‘Did we all say in the dressing room, when he was 17, that he was going to go so far? No.
‘But did we all think he had a chance of being one of the greatest players ever? Yes.
There was no room for Rio Ferdinand (left) or Paul Scholes, although Keane hailed both stars
Keane picked Wayne Rooney (right) because of his formidable record after signing in 2004
David Beckham (centre), Ryan Giggs (third from left) and Gary Neville (third from right) are in
‘A lot happen – injuries, distractions – but for all his off-field stuff, I didn’t ever feel at United that he was getting distracted by that.’
The serial Premier League winner described Cantona as a ‘brilliant lad’ despite picking Wayne Rooney over him because of the former England hitman’s record.
Keane said: ‘Eric was a brilliant player for Man United. I’m upset to leave Eric out. Eric was a brilliant character and produced in the big games.’