Roy Keane has name-checked Patrick Vieira as the toughest Premier League midfielder he faced after talking extensively about his career on Monday Night Football.
The former Manchester United captain enjoyed many a ding-dong during his time at Old Trafford and provided some brilliant insight into his career following the Red Devils’ 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Keane had already gone to great lengths to explain why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be kept in the hotseat at Old Trafford before going on talk of his own time as the captain of Manchester United.
Asked who were the toughest opponents he faced, Keane told Sky Sports: “It was a big challenge for me when Patrick [Vieira] came onto the scene.
“He was a good player and I knew I had to be at my best when I was up against him. He was nasty, he could put his foot in and he could score a goal.
“Patrick would’ve been my toughest opponent at the time. He would challenge you in different ways. He would get around the pitch, he was good with the ball, he was strong, and he had a goal in him. I knew I had to be at my very, very best to get on top of Patrick.
“He wasn’t the only one though. Back in those days, every week in the Premiership you were in for a battle: David Batty was tough; Gary Speed, God rest his soul, he was tough; Rob Lee up at Newcastle – you knew you were in a game against these fellas.”
Keane continued: “The greatest I faced in Europe? Undoubtedly [Zinedine] Zidane. He had everything – but he was nasty with it too. Batty, Speed, they were nasty too, they’d give you a kick, a real battle; I just gave back as good as I got!
“But there was a respect towards Patrick. It was the same with the lads coming through. I go back to Steven Gerrard and the Frank Lampard. You had to be at your best. I had huge respect for him, but I knew if I could win my battle it would give us a better chance of winning the game.”
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