Thursday, October 27, 2005

Roy Keane

Roy Keane.
Roy Keane's Finale at Manchester United?

The Ranter looks back over a glittering career and to an end that hopefully won't drag on too long.

There's a passage in Roy Keane's suitably frank autobiography in which, to paraphrase, the fiery Irishman admits he wasn't the best player in his junior team, not even in the school side but that in living, breathing and fighting football he succeeded on determination alone.

It's a misrepresentation of the Cork master's talents but a fitting summary of a career that is surely now drawing to a close.

Born in Cork, Ireland, 10th August 1971, Roy Keane is most probably entering his final season as Manchester United captain; perhaps even his last in English football. Over the past decade he has cajoled, bullied and fought his way to the top.

His vein pumping, fist clenching all-action style has always been the surface of Keane. But below that has been a master tactician, the epitome of the modern midfielder's art – as the great Marcelo Lippi once called him, "Manchester United's heartbeat."

In the final year of his contract at Manchester United it looks increasingly likely that Keane will either retire or move on in May 2006. Keane's influence is as great as ever but successive injuries have blunted his physical abilities to the point that manager Sir Alex Ferguson has changed his side's tactics to offer the Irishman more protection.

With Keane injured until winter sets in and rumours of Bayern's Michael Ballack's January arrival at the club increasingly believable, Keane could even find himself on the bench come the New Year. It is with this backdrop that the crackerjack midfielder recently announced his expectation of leaving the club at the end of the current season.

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