Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel have exchanged verbal volleys in the lead up to the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup play-off with Denmark.
Speaking ahead of the Off The Ball World Cup Roadshow the Danish legend was asked if he was surprised to see the former Manchester United captain play second fiddle to Martin O’Neill as Ireland’s assistant manager:
"I have absolutely no answer to that because why would I be surprised? I'm surprised he is employed by the FAI. Maybe they kissed and made up. I don't know."
The strained relationship between the former teammates was raised with Keane too this week, he was asked by a Danish journalist what he might say if he bumped into Schmeichel around Dublin:
“I’d say fuck all to him. What do you want me to say to him? Is he playing? He’s not playing, no. I’d say nothing to Peter. What could I say to him?
“Listen, I’ve huge respect for all my ex-team-mates. Through the good and bad times. He started it. He said it himself, he held his hand up, he said he started it. I think he had two pints and got a bit brave, y’know?
‘It’ – referring to the fist fight that saw both men labelled a ‘disgrace to Manchester United’ by then manager Alex Ferguson.
They came to blows on a pre-season tour of Asia in 1998, with Keane recalling the moment when launching his book at the RDS in 2014
“Self defence, he attacked me. What do you want me to do, just take it?
“I’m sure there is people here women and blokes who play with teams and there will be friction, you’re grown men, testosterone levels are up, you’re fucking ready for action.
“With Peter, there was drink involved, there was tension between us. Not that we disliked each other but there was just that sense of ‘I’m not sure about ya’.
“I know when I came back from my cruciate injury Peter was reluctant to give the captaincy back and I was like – why?
“The manager of the club is telling you to give it back. We were on pre-season tour and there was drink and a bit of banter.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional sports person or not or a man in the street if somebody is waiting at the hotel saying I’ve had enough of you, saying let’s get it on, you get it on.
“The next morning we slept it out, I was rooming with Denis Irwin and we were late and Denis was going mad. You think he’d been caught in bed with someone.
“We were like 5 minutes late for the bus and I was packing me bag and me hand was sore and I said ‘I think I was fighting last night’ and he said we’re late for the bus and I said fuck the bus, Denis! Jesus Christ man. He was panicking over the bus his image was tarnished.
“We got on the bus Ferguson was there saying you’re disgrace, Denis was sitting down the back. Peter obviously had a black eye when we traveled and how unlucky could you be, when we got there two players had to go to the press conference – it was me and Peter.
“To be fair they asked what happened to your eye, thank god he was quick and said I got an elbow in training last night, the trouble happened when we got back to England.
“I admire Peter he put his hand up and said gaffer it was my fault I was waiting for him.
“When we got back to Manchester the manager pulled the usual, you’re a disgrace to the club blah blah blah. I’ve heard that a few times, I was like what about Denis he was late for the bus.”