Nemanja Matic reminds Roy Keane ‘football has changed’ in retort to pundit’s criticism; defends former Man Utd teammate

Nemanja Matic, Brighton v Man Utd May 2022

Nemanja Matic has brushed off criticism from Roy Keane from earlier this year, explaining why he doesn’t “really care” about the pundit’s opinion despite his respect for him.

Keane, of course, has proven himself as one of the most outspoken pundits covering the Premier League. The former Manchester United captain has not been afraid to voice his true opinion of clubs or their staff on several occasions.

Earlier this year, Matic found himself in the firing line from Keane. When the veteran midfielder confirmed his intention to leave Manchester United, the pundit took issue with his signs of gratitude towards former club Chelsea as well.

In April, Keane quipped: “Matic talking about, ‘I’m leaving, I’ve had a great time… Man Utd will always be in my heart, oh and Chelsea as well, by the way, oh and Benfica – don’t forget them’. They can’t all be in your heart.”

However, Matic – who went on to reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma after his release by Manchester United – does not think Keane’s stance on that matter was relevant.

In fact, the 34-year-old has reminded Keane that “football has changed” since the time of his own playing career. What’s more, the Serbia international even took aim at some of Keane’s own antics from those days.

“I have respect for what he has done but he needs to understand that football has changed,” Matic told The Times.

“If I played for Chelsea, I cannot say I hate them. I cannot be angry when I’m talking to the press after the game.

“The way he behaved on pitch, 70 per cent of it is a red card today. You cannot throw a punch when all the cameras in the world are there.

“The real hero is when you go out on the street and say something, but he was always very nice with me, so what he says in public, to be honest, I don’t really care. I know what I’ve done in my career and I’m very happy.”

Maguire criticism branded a ‘disaster’

Another player to have faced even harsher criticism – from more sources – is Harry Maguire.

The current Manchester United captain has been in the spotlight for his decline in form over recent months. In some ways, he has become a scapegoat for the club’s poor 2021-22 season.

However, his former teammate Matic has hit out at the criticism of the centre-back, which he feels has gone too far.

“What people are doing to him, it is a disaster,” Matic said. “Everything has to have limits and some of these people writing on social media, they don’t have their own lives so they just have to write bad things about someone else.”

Matic already on course for second deal after Man Utd exit

Meanwhile, things are looking up for Matic away from Manchester United. After becoming a bit-part player towards the end of his spell there, he has found a rhythm again with Roma.

He only signed a one-year contract when moving to Italy in the summer. However, La Gazzetta Dello Sport is now reporting he is in line for an extension already.

Matic’s contract will automatically extend if he plays in 19 Serie A matches this season. So far, he has played in all seven of Roma’s league games. He could hit the tally required by the end of January at this rate.

Hence, he is on course to trigger the extension until 2024. Meanwhile, Manchester United are still drawing up plans of how to evolve the position he once played in for them.

Casemiro arrived from Real Madrid in the summer, while Christian Eriksen signed on a free transfer to play slightly further forward. Perhaps there could be further changes in that territory in future.

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