keane's a moaner but that's not bad
United legend Ince praises Roy, saying game needs him
PAUL Ince could hardly be better equipped to make a call on Sunday's big battle of the also-rans at Anfield given his past history with Liverpool and Manchester United. He believes Mersey Red will win the day.
With a foot in both camps, he is not a bit impressed with the fact that he's in Dublin talking about his two former clubs in the run-up to a big Premier League clash like this in the context of a Champions League qualification dispute rather than a titanic title struggle.
He's a forthright man and is happy to stray into forbidden territory like the broken relationship between Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson.
Asked about the fact that the Corkman and the Glaswegian do not talk, Ince first played a straight bat.
"That's nothing to do with me in all honesty. Keane is Keanie," he said.
But they achieved a lot together. Is it not strange that they can't share and enjoy the memories?
"Well, you can achieve much without talking. Look at Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham. It's true, they never spoke for three or four years but they played together and won many things," said Ince.
"Roy Keane has a - what can I say - an ego. We all had egos at Man United because that's what made us who we were. We were arrogant in a way, maybe you can take it too far. We were arrogant because we knew that we were a good team.
"We had these egos, myself, Peter Schmeichel, Keane, Robson, Cantona. Egos, that's what made Manchester United such a good side. Sometimes it can go pearshaped, that's the case with Alex and Roy. But Roy is Roy.
"Roy's got higher standards, people don't like Keanie and you always try to guess what Keanie's like. I have a very good relationship with Roy Keane on and off the park. He does not let people into his head, that's what he's like and you know him better than me.
"I have always found Roy....he's just a fantastic player, a nice guy and very private."
Ince, who liked to be known as 'The Guvnor', rubbishes the notion that he and Keane were bitter rivals for the position as Ferguson's main midfield enforcer.
"I never had a row with him. We got on well, we used to go out for a few beers together. We were partners in midfield so you have to have a good relationship with your partner," he said.
Surely Keane was a rival?
"No, from the time that I came to United, Bryan Robson was my favourite player, my idol. He was coming to the end of his career so I knew what Fergie was trying to do. I never saw Roy as a rival, I saw him as my partner. What a player, what a player, a great player, a great, great player."
"When you talk about someone with higher standards, everything has got to be right. If it ain't right ... listen, he's a moaner. He moans but we all moan! But he does moan and sometimes he moans too much. 'Keane, for f**k's sake, shut up, will you!'
"Then he goes off again and you just walk away from him. You have to know how to deal with him. But I'll have him. Those types of players you just don't get any more with those standards that he wants. He does want higher standards and if he does not get them, he's not happy. That's not a bad way to be.
"I speak to Roy and he does want to get back in but he does want to get back in at the right establishment, with the right project.
"You cannot lose people like him from the game, He knows so much about football, no matter what your cup of tea is.
"Some people love him, some people hate him. I'm sure it's the same about myself. He's got a vast knowledge of football and for him not to be a manager ...
"Roy Keane is not a number two, Roy Keane is a leader of men. he wants to lead a team so I'd say to him that if the right thing comes along, then I'm sure he will get back into it."
Ince reckons that Keane could well have his eye on the Ireland job further down the road.
"Maybe he thinks that when Martin's done, then he's the next one to step up. That's the logic I see in it. Whether Keanie can do that, well. Keanie is one of those people whom I think needs to be in football day to day."
"International football is hard because it's once every month or two months. I think Keanie would like to be on the training ground every day. "So I am not sure but it would be great if he was Ireland manager. It would be fantastic, would it not?"
p Paul Ince was in Dublin to promote Carlsberg's 2015 JOIN THE GREATS campaign (#JOINTHEGREATS) which will give 20 winners the chance to visit Anfield as a VIP guest for Liverpool's May 2 game against QPR and the next day, actually play on the hallowed turf.