Manchester United legend Roy Keane has revealed he turned down the chance to be handed the legendary no.7 shirt at the club when Eric Cantona retired.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Irishman revealed in his 2015 autobiography that Ferguson spoke to him about taking the iconic shirt number from the Frenchman as he was initially sceptical about handing it to David Beckham.
Keane, however, was not interested and felt comfortable with the no.16 he wore throughout his time at United, suggesting that being outside the traditional first 11 kept him on his toes to an extent.
We’re also far from surprised that Keano isn’t one to pay too much attention to gimmicks like squad numbers, though it could also be taken as a pretty big snub to what is clearly seen within Old Trafford as a pretty big deal.
Many legends have worn the 7 shirt for the Red Devils, with George Best, Bryan Robson and Cristiano Ronaldo also among the greats to give it that special status.
‘The captaincy is important but squad numbers can have an importance, too. At United, 7 was the iconic number,’ Keane said.
‘When Eric Cantona left there was debate about who was going to be the next captain. I was quite relaxed about it. But there was his number, too – seven.
‘Bryan Robson had had it before Cantona and, of course, it went back to Georgie Best.
‘The manager pulled me into his office and said that he wanted me to wear the ‘7’.
‘I said, ‘No, I’m not bothered.’
‘And he said, “I know Becks will f**kin’ want it and I don’t want him to have it”.
‘I’d had 16 since I’d signed for the club. I was comfortable with 16. I think it might have kept me on my toes, being outside the 1 to 11. I didn’t think I was a No.7. I said, “Give it to Becks”.
‘Becks got it, and it suited him – and Cantona. Ronaldo had it after Becks.’