A LOOK BACK: Roy Keane didn’t know Wayne Rooney all that well until he stole the remote control while he was watching the rugby and then bravely stood up to him
Image: EMPICS Sport)
Manchester United legends Wayne Rooney and Roy Keane have a good relationship by all accounts.
And according to the Red Devils’ all-time leading goalscorer, Rooney, it began as all good friendships do – with the duo involved in a petty argument that saw the former Ireland international tell his teammate to “go f*** himself”.
The incident occurred before a Man United match with Newcastle in 2004. The Red Devils team had checked into a hotel in the North East on a Friday, on the eve of the game, and were relaxing in front of the TV for the evening while having food.
Keane put the rugby on and was paying close attention to the match before going to get some dinner and returning. Upon heading back the Irishman noticed someone had changed the channel, and all hell broke loose.
Remembering the incident in his 2014 autobiography, The Second Half, Keane explained: “We were in a hotel, the Friday night before a game – I forget where. The team would always sit down and have a meal together. There was a big TV in the room.
“I was into rugby league, and there was a big game on. I went to the toilet, came back and someone had changed the channel to something stupid. I can’t remember what it was. A few of the players were sitting there, giggling away.
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“I said, ‘Where’s the rugby league?’ I knew Wayne was up to something. I said, ‘Where’s the remote control?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘You f****** do’. I didn’t exactly storm out, but I couldn’t be bothered trying to get the remote control back, so I decided I’d watch the rest of the match up in my room.
“I came down the next morning for the pre-match meal and Wayne was brave enough to come up to me. ‘Did you ever find the remote control, Roy?’ I think I told him to go and f*** himself. It was the only disagreement I ever had with him.”
Rooney remembered the incident in much the same way, although claims the ‘disagreement’ was positive for their relationship as he believes Keane respected him for standing his ground in the face of confrontation.
And the fact Keane referred to Rooney’s actions the next morning as “brave” suggests he might be right.
Telling his version of events in 2018, Rooney said: “I always remember my first away trip, having that argument with Roy Keane. We were watching the rugby before we were playing Newcastle away.
“He went to get some food, so I put X-Factor on and hid the remote. He wasn’t happy about it and we had an argument. But I think straight away, he respected me more for standing up to him.”