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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

‘Some people might not like Roy Keane, but when I turn on my TV on a Sunday and he is on, then I watch’

HE has created headlines around the football world after some explosive TV appearances in Qatar, yet former Ireland midfielder David Meyler insists Roy Keane is not playing the role of a pantomime villain at this World Cup.

x-Manchester United and Ireland skipper Keane has been an outspoken pundit with ITV Sport in the UK, with his claim that Qatar should not be hosting the event due to their human rights record and an on-air spat with Graeme Souness causing a stir.

Meyler worked with Keane during his time coaching Sunderland and he believes Keane’s aggressive views are box office viewing.

“Roy has never been afraid to share his opinion and he is not on their showboating for anyone,” said Meyler at a Virgin Media event.

“Some people might not like Roy, but when I turn on my TV on a Sunday and he is on, then I will hang around to watch.

“It’s not comedy TV, but you are getting an insight from someone who is one of the best players ever to play in the Premier League. He has that buzz around him.

“I don’t agree with everything Roy says, but you don’t want to turn off when he is on the panel.”

Keane’s strong defence of Cristiano Ronaldo has gone against the tide of criticism flowing in the direction of the player who was sacked by Manchester United last Tuesday following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo’s exit from Old Trafford has echoes of Keane’s exit from the club in 2005, as he was removed following an interview with the club’s in-house TV channel.

While Meyler believes Keane’s backing of Ronaldo’s position has some merit, he also believes the 37-year-old superstar needed to leave United.

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As World Cup fever kicks in, Virgin Media are bringing Ireland’s top e-sports football players and Team WYLDE Athletes Tyrone Ryan and Ciaran Walsh to Turner’s Cross to play against Irish football legends David Meyler and Stephanie Roche in a live FIFA battle that will also be streamed on Twitch @ 5pm on 29th of November.

“There are some valid points behind what Roy says about Ronaldo,” stated Meyler.

“How can you knock Ronaldo? You look at him scoring in his fifth World Cup the other day and it is a truly remarkable achievement.

“He’s Portugal’s oldest scorer at a World Cup and also their youngest. It’s hard to get your head around all of these achievements.

“I started this World Cup hoping Lionel Messi might crown his career by winning it with Argentina, but it would be amazing if Ronaldo did it as well.

“I didn’t enjoy watching his Piers Morgan interview, but I liked the way he spoke about Messi.

“These two greats have shared the big stage for 20 years and no manager can teach these guys how to play football.

“These two are the greatest football players of this generation and they are in the conversation as the best of all time. That’s why you have to treat them somewhat differently to other players.”

Meyler also gave his views on the ongoing debate around Qatar’s human rights issues, which have been an enduring side-show at this World Cup.

While the former Ireland midfielder hopes football can now be the focus, he accepts the crossover between sport and social issues is impossible to ignore.

“I would like to see sport and politics separated, but it is very difficult for them not to cross,” he added.

“The players at this tournament have had to deal with a lot of difficult questions from the media and I think they knew it was coming. The players would have been prepared for this, but the issues are hard to believe.

“In this day and age, going into 2023, it is amazing to think migrant workers building the stadiums don’t seem to have been treated properly and the LGBTQ+ issues in Qatar are also unbelievable.

“It’s good to see people raise their concern because we need change and the way FIFA have handled everything has been a disaster.

“You go back to their President Gianni Infantino and that bizarre press conference he gave saying he felt like a migrant worker and felt gay… it was just appalling.

“I don’t want to get started on FIFA as they have so many problems, so many issues. Hopefully with the way these things have been highlighted we will see change, but I won’t be holding my breath.”

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