Paul McGrath Recalls his first Encounter with a Young Roy Keane

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The former Aston Villa and Irish central defender Paul McGrath was speaking to the media this week and recalls his first encounter with a very young Roy Keane.

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“I would have known about Roy from coming up against him at Nottingham Forest [when I was at Aston Villa],” “Jeez, he was frightening.”

“I played against him up at the City Ground, because this lad ran from box to box, and wouldn’t stop running.

“But, also, he was a brilliant footballer. He ran with the ball, without the ball, and wherever he was supposed to be going, he just got there.”

“He kind of scared a few people, as well, because he was Irish and people [in England] were a bit more wary of him and were wondering, ‘Where did he come from?’ Because the Irish lads were often coming over at a later age and had not gone through the youth systems over there. He appeared and he was absolutely brilliant.”

“He’d take the ball from anyone and he’d keep it, right until he was ready to give it to someone else!

“So, we knew all about him and we were thrilled that he was maturing into this kind of leader, as well.”

“He wasn’t trying to be-little, hurt or have a pop at Mick, or anything like that. We wouldn’t have allowed that.

“I got on really well with Roy, but I wouldn’t have let him sound off too much, I don’t think anyway. And I was not one to start a row – I’d be one of the quietest on the bus – but I wouldn’t like to see a kid disrespect someone who was older. And Mick McCarthy, to my mind, was one of the best Irish defenders ever. So I certainly would not have wanted a new kid on the block telling him where he should go.

“But that was all taken well. I never had to say ‘You’re out of order’ to Roy. Not once.”

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