Roy Keane’s timely Leeds United admission fans flames ahead of Manchester United clash

Roy Keane was never the most popular visitor at Elland Road for Leeds United fans.

The former Manchester United captain enjoyed some memorable clashes in LS11 and was regularly cast as the pantomime villain.

But it was hostility which developed into something bordering on respect for the 50-year-old, who has reflected favourably on the rivalry in recent years.

Last year, Keane named former Leeds’ midfielders David Batty and Gary Speed as two of the toughest he ever faced in his time with the Red Devils.

The former Republic of Ireland international described the pair as ‘brilliant players’ who both held a ‘nasty’ streak.

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Keane also praised Leeds for being one of the few sides willing to go ‘toe to toe’ with the Red Devils in their heyday under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He said: “They’d always come and have a go, they’d always be up for it. Physical battle, tense, rivalry with supporters, a lot of hatred with supporters there, it was brilliant.”

Leeds kick off the new season with a visit to Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, and Keane has again paid a reluctant compliment to his rivals.

Appearing on The Overlap alongside former team-mate Gary Neville, the pundit was asked about the best atmosphere he experienced as a player.

Keane cited the rivalry with Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, but was then asked which was the most hostile away-day atmosphere.

He replied: “I thought Leeds was good away from home, or maybe when we used to have to go to Turkey.”

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