Roy Keane Names His Manchester United Dream Team; Features Glaring Omissions

Roy Keane has continued to make headlines recently by taking shots at his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson and the club he captained for years, Manchester United. Now Keane has revealed his all-time Manchester United XI from the Premier League era and it is more notable for its absences than who is on the team.

Keane of course included himself in the best XI while omitting Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.

For me, the biggest omission is Paul Scholes, the single more technically gifted and adept passer English football has produced in the last two decades. Scholes’ style didn’t always fit the English game but at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson knew how to utilize this most precious of assets. Paul Ince, who made the team ahead of Scholes, was no doubt a great player but lacked the Scholes level of quality that was the most mouthwatering of any English player of his generation.

Despite being a core player for the entire Premier League era at Manchester United and showing a tactical flexibility rare in the British game, Giggs has been omitted. While Cristiano Ronaldo certainly deserves his place in the side, it can be argued that David Beckham, a great player in his own right, should be bumped for Giggs. But then again, perhaps Keane is trying to keep the team as position specific as possible.

As for Wayne Rooney, his omission for Eric Cantona is understandable but not for Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Consistency and scope of performances have to be considered when determining this list and while the Dutchman had his fair share of match winning moments, Rooney has had the number of title and trophy winning moments that no other United attacking player since Cantona has enjoyed. This omission is galling but when dealing with Roy Keane, who knows if it was malicious or just a matter of opinion.

In his recently released updated autobiography, Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of Keane’s mood swings that kept his teammates on edge. Perhaps this ultimate team sheet of his was just a passing moment in time or is it really what he thinks?

Editor’s note: For the latest Red Devils news, analysis and opinion, visit the Manchester United team page.

18 thoughts on “Roy Keane Names His Manchester United Dream Team; Features Glaring Omissions”

    1. Paul Parker himself wasn’t a bad player. He was the England right back in 1990 World Cup, but got injured after couple of seasons with United.

      1. He was a good player but seriously…
        Gary Neville was United’s first choice Right Back for at least 12 seasons during which time they won 7 titles, 3 FA Cups, and 1 Champions League.

        To me this clearly indicates that Keane has some sort of issue with Neville and is a lot more controversial than picking Van Nistlerooy over Rooney or Beckham over Giggs.

        1. Paul Parker was an excellent defender, one of my favourites as a child. If he was taller he would’ve been an amazing centre-back!

          But yeah Keano’s choice hints bitterness when you consider he only played with Parker for a few seasons compared to Neville who was a very good defender for around a decade!

        2. A little bit baffling since according to Fergie’s book, Neville stood up for Keane in the team meeting. Probably Keane was upset that Neville didn’t do more…

  1. “This omission is galling but when dealing with Roy Keane, who knows if it was malicious or just a matter of opinion.”

    Why is it galling? And without any facts or any points at all isn’t your argument also just a matter of opinion?

    Van Nistelrooy scored 40 goals in a season, 36 in another. Wayne Rooney has not. Van Nistelrooy averaged a goal every 1.6 games, also better than Rooney’s 1.9. Both are better than Cantona’s 2.25.

    1. RvN was a striker while Cantona was more a forward.

      I don’t think the selection was galling. Paul Parker was an excellent right back, playing in 90 World Cup before injuries hurt him. Paul Ince was very similar to Keane: tough tackling midfielder and was one of the few British players who were successful in Italy.

      1. I’m not a big fan of Ruud…a wimp,a cnut to Ronaldo,wanting to escape jump ship to Madrid/Barca etc etc but for goalscoring reasons Keano chose correctly. Ruud in his first two seasons in his physical prime displayed what an awesome world-class CF he was. The way he used to slipstream past defenders in the box and with ultimate singlemindedness sweep another ball into the net was just fantastic.

  2. Van Nistelroy was incredibly consistent. He scored at least 20 goals in 4 of 5 seasons. Rooney has done that twice in nine seasons, Cantona never did. I realize Rooney is more than just a goal scorer but it doesn’t seem galling to me Keane would include Van Nistelroy over Rooney. I think if Rooney deserved to be included over anyone it’s Cantona, blasphemous as it seems, particularly given Keane’s shape appears to be 4-2-3-1 and Rooney would fill in that #10 spot nicely in place of Cantona.

    I agree with Cody- I think you can make a reasonable argument for Rooney by including some figures but you don’t go that extra mile. Like United winning 5 titles in Rooney’s 9 seasons at United, while winning just 1 in RVN’s 5.

  3. I’d put RVN ahead of Rooney in my pecking order too. United has an embarrassment of riches in terms of their roster during the Premier League era that there is no wrong answer really.

    1. Yeah I would’ve taken Scholes but Ince was a brilliant midfielder in his own right for United too! Swift and tigerish in the tackle with a great pass in him. In Keane’s debut season of 1993-94 he struck up an awesome partnership in midfield with him. Their great footballing qualities coupled with strong personalities on the pitch were instrumental in United dominating every midfield battle in the league that season.

  4. GAffer, I think you missed a common denominator that settles the “is Keano holding a grudge?” question:

    IN: Becks, RVN, Stam, Ince. All guys who had big fallouts with Fergie.

    Cantona and Ronaldo both left on their own terms, and could never be accused of being told their retirements were not accepted, as is the story with Scholes.

    7 of 11 players are easily labelled as bad boys who Fergie had trouble controlling. Of the remaining four, Irwin is Irish and has always earned compliments from Keane, Parker is not a Fergie boy like GNev, Schmichel was flat-out world class (and Keann added that they didn’t get along) and Pallister… well, he’s Pallister.

    OUT – Scholes, Giggs, Gary Neville, All guys who could easily be labelled “Fergie’s boys”.

    As for Rooney, perhaps if he left this summer, he would have been in. Instead, you could argue that Rooney and Keane’s overlap was pretty short and not a purple patch for United, therefore pretty easy for Keane to look elsewhere.

    So, it’s not hard to see quite a few calculations that definitely have a Fergie overtone.


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