Red Devil legend Keane has a reputation as one of football’s toughest characters, but speaking to Sky Sports, his former Republic of Ireland teammate McAteer has expressed his doubt over just how tough Keane truly is!
“What you see on the telly when he’s doing press conferences, that’s his character. He’s not like that really,” McAteer revealed.
“Does he play a role? I think he does… well I know he does. He can play it to the media and the public and he has this hard-man persona.
“But he has got a sense of humour and he is funny when he wants to be.
“Is he softer in the dressing room? Very much so. He will get annoyed, but he’d be a lot softer than you’d think and what you know of him.”
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The two men represented Ireland together for a decade between 1994 and 2004, and McAteer was one of the players Keane abandoned when he stormed out of the Eire camp ahead of the 2002 World Cup.
The ex-Sunderland and Ipswich Town coach currently remains part of the Irish set up—as Martin O’Neill’s assistant—and is present this evening as the ROI take on Bosnia-Herzegovina in a Euro 2016 qualifier.