Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

19.17 15 Sep 2020


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Wes Brown told Off The Ball about Roy Keane's influence on his Manchester United career, and how the simplicity of Sir Alex Ferguson's messages was all part of his genius.

Brown spoke to former Sunderland team-mate David Meyler about his time at United, one that ended with five Premier League medals and two European Cups.

It was Keane that Brown was quick to credit, in part, for such a garlanded career at Old Trafford.

Roy Keane's compliments

"Roy Keane was the man," said Brown of his former captain.

"He was a born winner. When I got there, he had been there for many, many years and he was the captain. He had expectations and he wanted the best out of everyone.

"At the time, United were winning quite a lot and he had the armband so he had to keep that going. It doesn't matter if you were just brought to the club or were a young lad - you had to do the basics in a football match.

"That's what Roy Keane does, he focuses on the basics. If I'm not running and he knows I can, he'll tell me.

"People always takes the 'snaps' of Roy Keane, but there were so many times that he would compliment you. Coming off at half-time and he would say 'keep on going, brilliant son...'

"Little things like that that people don't talk so much about. He was fantastic and he was a role model. He would have taken that from looking at Brian Robson coming through - I loved it, I thought he was brilliant."

Keane gave Brown a helping hand off the pitch at United also.

"This was probably my second contract when I was 20, just after the Treble season. I had word with [Gary Neville] and he said 'I want Keano to have a look at it.'

"Keano was brilliant and sorted everything out. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't going up to him every day [during negotiations] and go 'Oi, Keano, what's happening?!"

 Ferguson's genius

Brown spoke about the 'genius' of Sir Alex Ferguson, the man under whom Brown won every trophy of his career.

"He made it very simple, I think that is what you were genius at. He could spot your talent and make you do it but explain it very simply.

"For instance, 'Wes, mark him today - I don't want you to give him a touch.' He didn't tell me how he wanted me to do it.

"He had that way with players, and everyone is different. Sheasy [John O'Shea], he might approach in a different way. But he worked out everyone's personalities early, and that helped everyone."

The hairdryer

Brown said that he was on the end of a few spittle-flecked invectives from Ferguson during his career at the club.

"I had loads," Brown said of the so-called 'hairdryer.'

"What's funny is that the ones I thought I was getting at half-time, I probably didn't get!

"There was one at Leeds where he absolutely came for me at full force - I actually thought I played OK! We came in at 0-0 and he said 'Wes, sloppy, blah blah blah..' I played better in the second half.

"What's funny is that I remember by mate Mark Wilson said 'Remember when the gaffer shouted at you? He walked round the corner of the dressing room and said 'he'll player better now' and started laughing!'

"The gaffer was clever - I was one of those characters that probably performed better when I was shouted at!"

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