ROY KEANE has incurred the wrath of Arsenal fans – by claiming Patrick Vieira would not have got into the Manchester United side.
United legend Keane spent much of his career involved in a deep rivalry with Gunners counterpart Vieira in the centre of midfield.
2 Roy Keane has claimed Patrick Vieira would only have been a squad player at Manchester UnitedCredit: Sky Sports
But there was a time when they could have ended up being team-mates, with boss Sir Alex Ferguson trying to take the French World Cup winner to Old Trafford from Arsenal.
Speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football, Keane goaded the Gunners and said: "There was talk about Patrick [going to United], but I don't think he would have got into the United team.
"He would've had to have been a squad player and I don't think he would've been satisfied with that.
"What we would've done, when [Juan Sebastian] Veron came to the club, you see that as a challenge.
"The club has to improve, get better and you have to roll with it, roll your sleeves up and enjoy the challenge.
"If you want to be a big player at a big club, you have to accept these challenges."
2 Keane and Vieira were bitter rivals during their playing careers as United and Arsenal battled it out as the dominant forces in English football.Credit: PA:Press Association
Deep down there is a grudging respect from the former United captain towards Vieira, after so much of their careers were spent at loggerheads.
The Irishman said: "It was a big challenge for me when Patrick 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.
"There was a respect towards Patrick. It was the same with the lads coming through.
"I go back to Steven Gerrard and then Frank Lampard. You had to be at your best."
Despite his dig being more tongue in cheek than serious, Arsenal fans rose to the bait and hit back at Keane on social media.
Roy Keane on MNF… "If Patrick Vieira had have come to United, he would have to have settled for being a squad player, as he wouldn't have made the 1st team!" … Who are you kidding Keano, he would have RETIRED YOU…!!! #COYG #AFC pic.twitter.com/rriBZLlwFr
— Gunners.com (@Gunnersc0m) September 30, 2019
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As a player Keane can't even lace Vieira's boots.
— Gunner Bro! (@austy02) October 1, 2019
Please tell me he didn’t say that about the best midfielder the Premier League has ever seen?
I know he tries to cause offence but really??? Vieira had the better of Keane in their battles
— Danny Heard (@danthegolfer79) October 1, 2019
Roy Keane have a word with yourself,Vieira would have only been a squad player😂😂😂
— lee towell (@cheeko46) October 1, 2019