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‘Incredibly clever’ Man Utd legend showed two different sides as captain in dressing room, it’s an eye-opener

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Former Manchester United star Tim Howard has revealed what “incredibly clever” Roy Keane was like behind the scenes in the Old Trafford dressing room.

Roy Keane took the captain’s armband at Manchester United after club legend Eric Cantona announced his retirement from football in 1997.

The 52-year-old Irishman excelled as United skipper and was a leading locker-room figure during his legendary spell at Old Trafford.

Keane, who is widely regarded as one of the best captains in Premier League history, captained United to an iconic treble win in the 1998-99 season.

The Irishman was a linchpin midfield figure for legendary former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, with Keane earning high admiration for his leadership skills.

During his glittering spell at Old Trafford, former United captain Keane captured seven Premier League titles, a Champions League and four FA Cups.

Keane’s run as United captain – and time at the Red Devils – came to an end in 2005 after his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson splintered.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville succeeded fellow United legend Keane after the Irish hardman’s exit from Old Trafford.

READ MORE: ‘Fearsome’ Roy Keane invited former Man Utd star to dinner and was snubbed, his ex-teammate was ‘deathly afraid’

Former footballer and TV pundit Roy Keane during the Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Coventry City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadiu...

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Howard praises Man Utd legend Keane

Tim Howard left MetroStars, formerly known as New York Red Bulls, in 2003 and signed for Manchester United in a £2.3m move.

The 45-year-old American made 77 appearances under United legend Sir Alex Ferguson and lifted both an FA Cup and League Cup during his spell at Old Trafford.

Roy Keane was still captain during Tim Howard’s first two years at United and the former United States international has opened up on his former teammate.

Speaking in his column for The Daily Mail, Howard hailed the influence of Keane and said that he was both “very calculated” and “incredibly clever” at United.

“He was also incredibly clever,” he wrote.

“Roy is very calculated in what he says, how he says it, the timing of it, the tone of it.

“I mean that in the most respectful way – he understood what the team needed at all times.”

READ MORE: Roy Keane ‘hated’ seeing one thing at Carrington and Old Trafford, it summed up Man Utd legend’s elite mentality

Howard’s run at Old Trafford came to an end in 2007 after he made a permanent move to Everton, having previously spent a loan spell out at the Toffees.

The former United and Everton shot-stopper enjoyed a successful spell at Goodison Park before he returned to the States and signed for Colorado Rapids.

Howard shared a deep look into the elite mindset of Keane when he was captain and how the Sky Sports pundit showed two different sides in the dressing room.

The ex-United States international admitted Keane could appear “completely emotionless” at times, while on other occasions he would take a different approach.

“Take Manchester United vs. Liverpool, the biggest game on the calendar,” Howard added.

“If he thought the team needed to see him be completely emotionless – sitting in his locker with his boots laced up, waiting for the bell – then that’s what he did.

“If he felt he needed to maraud around the dressing room and make sure people knew their jobs and be a bit more vocal, he did that too.

“He would sometimes crack a little joke and a wry little smile when you wouldn’t expect it.

“There was never one way and he would always change it in the biggest moments. Good leaders understand when a game feels different and you need to act differently.

“Those big matches ignited Roy’s character and his willingness to lead the charge. That is when true leaders are measured – they don’t blink, they don’t shirk. And he never did. Never.”

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