Roy Keane on the two players who it is "not acceptable" to criticise
“So it’s OK if I slag off the Tottenham right-back? No one mentions him."
Roy Keane has been speaking about his punditry career and his approach to the job.
Keane has a reputation for being the most forthright pundit currently working on the Premier League. The former Manchester United captain, however, has said that, regardless of the public perception of him, the overwhelming majority of what he says about players is positive.
He also believes that there are some players - such as Harry Maguire and Harry Kane - who are sacred cows. Keane said that if he is critical of the England pair, he is accused of going too far, even if they have played poorly.
Roy Keane on his criticism of Harry Maguire and Harry Kane.
"I actually think 95 per cent of my punditry is positive," Keane told David Walsh in a wide-ranging interview in The Sunday Times.
"I have been critical of some players over the last year or two if they’ve been playing badly or not doing their jobs. People don’t mind that.
"You criticise a Maguire or a Kane, and it’s, ‘Ah, that’s not acceptable'
“So it’s OK if I slag off the Tottenham right-back? No one mentions him. But you can’t be saying that about Harry! Why not? Did you not see the game?"
Keane has regularly criticised Maguire and Kane in the past few months, as both players have suffered a noticeable dip in form. He was also unimpressed with the England defender's celebration after scoring against Albania at Wembley last week.
Maguire, who has been in poor form for Man United, cupped his ears and did a knee slide, which was seemingly a rebuke to the criticism he has received recently. Keane was working on the game as a pundit for ITV and said the defender's goal celebration was "embarrassing" and his performances for the Red Devils over the last few months have been a "disgrace."
Gabriel Agbonlahor accused Keane of "bullying" Maguire with his comments, but the former Sunderland manager has said that he merely calls it as he sees it and he doesn't harbour any agenda.
Keane: I have no agenda about Maguire criticism.
"I’m trying to be honest. I don’t mind a player not being good, but don’t be so bad," Keane said.
"Maguire said players can have a drop-off after being involved in the Euros. [Declan] Rice hasn’t had a drop-off. Players can have a drop-off but don’t go from there to here.
“I’ve got no agendas. I don’t know Harry Maguire," Keane continued.
"I don’t know his agent. I don’t know anyone’s agent. I don’t have an agent. I’m not pals with any player.”
Keane also said he is "relaxed" about his future in punditry, but as long as he is doing the job he won't ever aim to be "polished" like some other pundits.
"If ITV and Sky rang me tomorrow, and said ‘Roy, your deal’s up in the summer,’ which it is, ‘it’s been great but we’re going in a new direction,’ I don’t think I’d lose a f***ing wink’s sleep," he said.
“I don’t want to do the punditry thinking, ‘I need to come across well here.’ It is a passion for me. I see lads on TV and they’re so polished, I’m thinking, 'have they had media training?'
"I’m not knocking them, they will probably be in the media for the next 20 years but I don’t want to be polished."