Jason McAteer has spoken of the lingering tension between himself and Roy Keane.
The former Ireland international and Liverpool star still maintains that the fiery Cork legend was wrong to walk out on Mick McCarthy and the Irish team as they prepared for the 2002 World Cup.
McAteer said: “It disappoints me, because I’m 40 and we are out of the game. When you’re playing, you have your enemies and rivalries.
“Unfortunately what happened in the World Cup was wrong. I wish he (Keane) had stayed, but he didn’t. He decided what he wanted to do was the right thing and he’s got to live with that. It’s got nothing to do with me. I’m just disappointed he went home. There’s other players I never got on with who I’ve since made up with. But unfortunately Roy is one of those people who will not let things lie. When we do bump into each other, there is an atmosphere. It’s sad because we had some really, really good times together. It’s just sad that we can’t put it to bed.”
But McAteer, who’s landed a presenting job for Al Jazeera during Euro 2012, stressed that despite their personal differences, he has nothing but admiration for Keane as a player. He said: “Roy is a very, very serious character and he hammered me in his book. But one thing that I’ll say about Roy Keane is that when you played football with him, he was brilliant. On the football pitch he was amazing.”
McAteer, who appeared as a guest on Craig Doyle Live, is confident Ireland could finish second in their group behind Spain. “We’ve nothing to lose. If we get something out of the Croatia game, we’ve got the ability to shut up shop and get a point out of the other two games and finish second. I think Spain will win the group and the tournament. Ireland have a game plan to get out of the group.”
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