Roy Keane’s appointment as assistant manager to Paul Lambert at Aston Villa looks likely to fail, according to his former Manchester United team-mate Dwight Yorke.
Yorke shared many moments of success with Keane as his captain at Old Trafford, but admitted he was “hugely surprised” when the Corkman chose to join Lambert at Villa having turned down the chance to manage Celtic.
Keane made it clear he will combine the Villa job with his role as Martin O’Neill’s assistant for the national team, but Yorke cannot see the former Sunderland and Ipswich manager as a No 2.
“It is a huge surprise, to be honest,” said Yorke in Rio de Janeiro, where he is watching the World Cup.
“He is a man I played with and have a lot of respect for as a player. He has had multiple opportunities as a manager, and has done reasonably well at some clubs. But to go from No 1 to assistant manager? I have never seen Keano in that light. He has always been a leader, always been his own man.
“So to go to Villa under Paul Lambert, do I see that working? To be totally honest I can’t, knowing Roy Keane as a person. Unless it is a changed Roy Keane, which I can’t see.”
Yorke is a United man through and through, but also has a soft spot for Villa, who took him to Birmingham from Trinidad as a teenager and gave him his big break in English football.
“I have a long affiliation with Aston Villa, I spent 10 years there, and I want to see the club improve. They have not been able to do that in the past three years. They have come unstuck a little bit since Paul Lambert went there, with Martin O’Neill the last successful manager there.
“So I want to see the club do well, and if Roy Keane can add something to it and get them success, then I am all for it.
“But this is a person I know who has been a No 1 in his way of thinking. Now he is going to be No 2 under Paul Lambert, an individual whom I don’t think he knows. I could understand it if it was his mate, but it’s not like that.
“I hope I am wrong, that he can do it and they can have a good relationship, and hopefully prosper and turn it into something really positive, but I think it is a situation we will have to watch very carefully and see what develops.”
Yorke is far more confident that United will return to challenge for the Premier League title under Louis van Gaal, however, when the Dutch manager takes over later this month.
“Van Gaal’s record as a manager speaks for itself, wherever he has been. He does not tend to stay a long time at any club, but he has always had success. He is a man with a wealth of experience. He knows how to get the best out of players, and we’ll expect that from him when he comes to United.”
Last season’s seventh-place finish was a disaster for United and cost David Moyes his job less than a year after taking over from Alex Ferguson.
“We know they are in a transitional period. They had a difficult time with Moyes taking over from Alex but with Van Gaal’s experience and expertise, and with Ryan Giggs as his assistant, I think United will advance again to be the force they once were.
“With Van Gaal coming in, and the new signings they are making and the new players he is going to add to the squad, can only make them bigger and stronger for next season.”
And Yorke believes there will be more big names to add to the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera.
“Absolutely. When you think of the players who have left, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic who were our two main centre-halves, that is a big gap to fill. Other players have left too.
“I have never seen Manchester United spend money so aggressively. They have always bought marquee players, and they did that with Juan Mata for £37m last season. But to already spend £60m on two players — that is very aggressive spending from United, so the intentions are really clear.
“They had a bad season, but they are going to compete with everyone else out there for the players they want. They are going to get them, and get them in quickly so that United can have the squad that can prepare for the season ahead.”
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