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29th Nov 2014

Jason McAteer Column: More to Keane exit at Villa than meets the eye

I think Roy could be at another club in a few weeks

Jason McAteer

I have to say, I think there could be a bit more to Roy Keane’s decision to leave Aston Villa than the statement today revealed.

I think the easy thing to do would be to believe what he said and take the heat off the situation and concentrate on international football. If that is true it will give him a chance to scout more players and see more football. Ireland are in the thick of it in the Euros and he might feel he needs to give his all to the cause.

But you can’t help think with the way Roy talks and the way Roy acts there is more to it.

Celtic are not going great even if they are top of the SPL. Forest have fallen away after a good start under Stuart Pearce so it wouldn’t surprise me if in a few weeks he ends up being a manager of a football club. We might have to wait until his next book to find out what has gone on!

I think he’s made no bones that he wants to go back into management and he doesn’t want to play second fiddle. Your’re either a manager or a coach and Roy feels he’s a manager. It’s very difficult  to get the balance right. I was an assistant and it’s a very difficult job to do. You have to have a foot in either camp and I don’t know if Roy is the kind of personality that can do that, he likes to be the boss.

Maybe Roy feels now is the right time to leave Villa  and we have to accept that’s what he means… until he turns up in a job next week, we have to go with what Roy says.

FC Groningen v Aston Villa - Pre Season Friendly

I think Liverpool have to be quite pleased with their midweek 2-2 draw with Ludogorets in the Champions League considering their form going into the game.

If it was last season it would have been considered a poor result but with Brendan Rodgers under increased pressure, and coming off the back of four straight defeats, I think the club and players can be quite happy to go away from home to a hostile environment and come away with a draw.

I liked that Brendan made some big calls with the team dropping Lovren, moving Stevie Gerrard to a more advanced area and playing Rickie Lambert up front. He’s got two-in-two now and he’s showing Mario Balotelli how it’s done .

It looked like there was more character in the team, especially conceding the early goal the way they did, it almost rubbed more salt in the wounds.

Gerrard’s move further up the pitch should benefit the whole team. He’s more of a quarterback than a holding midfielder. He’s not a player to break up attacks and protect a back four. That’s not what he does.

Stevie playing a holding role wasn’t working because the movement wasn’t great and the full backs are growing into the Rodgers style of play.

He has more to offer closer to the opposition goal. He can see a pass, he can shoot from 25-30 yards and he is great from set plays.

So, I think there is a place for him in the team but he needs a rest in certain games but there is no need to drop him yet.

A worry for me is Simon Mignolet, and I think because he has no competition for his place it’s affected him and the team.

You need someone to compete for your place and  Rodgers has been vocal in trying to get Mignolet to improve his performance.

The frailties were there last season but now, with with Lucas as the defensive midfielder, that should help the Belgian because at times he does get exposed.

His decision making isn’t great and coming for crosses and his passing lets him down at times.

If you go out and don’t have full confidence in a goalkeeper then it can affect the team. If you think the goalie is under pressure you worry whether he’s going to come or what he’s going to do at corners or free kicks and when a ‘keeper is in good confidence you do feel more secure.

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League

Mignolet’s lack of confidence is affecting the team but then that comes back to not having a No 2 to challenge and be able to bring someone else to take his place and that might be addressed in January.

Liverpool are facing Stoke but this isn’t the old Stoke ‘kick-em-up-in-the-air’ side. Bojan has brought a bit of glamour to the side and that’s not something I thought I’d ever say about Stoke! It is a big game for Liverpool and a big game for Stoke and they haven’t been great in the last few weeks either and last week’s loss to Burnley will have hurt Mark Hughes

Liverpool could feel a backlash and there is a lot of players that could cause Liverpool a few problems like Peter Crouch. The ball will have to be fought for and Liverpool have to learn a big lesson from last year; be clinical in front of goal and hopefully Lambert can go three-in-three.

Fourth is the aim and Liverpool are only five away from that even if they are just four away from relegation. They have to put points on the board and they need results quickly to ease the pressure.​

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