Former Ireland player and current Manchester United player-coach Paul McShane joined The Football Show on Tuesday. He discussed his time at Manchester United in his youth when Roy Keane was in his prime.
Paul McShane had a decorated career over 16 years.
He played in the Premier League, the Championship and League One. He also played 33 times for Ireland.
McShane is now 35 years of age. After departing Rochdale as a player in 2021, he became a player-coach for Manchester United's under-23 team. McShane is technically still playing but his role is more about developing the players of the future for Ralf Rangnick's side. He was once a player of the future for United and he spent much of his time watching Roy Keane.
Keane and McShane shared a training pitch and dressing room from 2004 to 2006.
"I was surrounded by so many world-class players at the time," McShane said.
"Roy Keane being one, he was a big influence on me. He was a role model for me growing up, but then to be training with him every day at times and to play with him sometimes, it was amazing. Probably he was my biggest influence because I saw how he was. I saw how he prepared for games and I used to see him eat fruit before he ate his dinner in team meals, so I sort of took that on for a few years."
We're all picturing Keane carving an apple with a blade to his thumb, right?
This was Roy Keane during his prime years. He was one of the best players in the world and the leader of that Manchester United dressing room. As a young, Irish defender who hadn't played a game for the first team, it would have been intimidating for McShane to be around the club legend.
As a grown man and coach of young players now, McShane doesn't think the Keane aura is gone away.
"I don' think I'd be relaxed in his company now to be honest. I always held him on a high pedestal. But yeah you'd get used to seeing him and then he was obviously my manager at Sunderland. And assistant manager in the Irish team, so it became a little bit more comfortable."
But it wasn't just Keane who inspired McShane. And it wasn't just the defenders or defensive players who did either.
"Ruud van Nistelrooy, yeah I really liked Ruud. I try and tell the young lads as well that when the strikers are doing shooting sessions and they're really tentative about going for it, I tell the story that I remember seeing van Nistelrooy. It was either rocketed into the top corner or over the bar because he didn't care. Because he was practicing.
"But young lads can get a bit embarrassed in front of their peers...that was good learning from Ruud van Nistelrooy."
McShane credits the professionalism of that Manchester United squad with how he handled himself in his career. Keane was the leader. But it wasn't just Keane. His influence rubbed off on the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville. Keane and Alex Ferguson defined that era of Manchester United.
McShane never played a competitive game but he had the best seat to examine the group.
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