Alan Shearer: ‘I Wouldn't Back Off With Roy Keane Then And I Wouldn't Back Off With Him Now’
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It's probably good Alan Shearer and Roy Keane are in different TV studios during Euro 2020 as the Newcastle legend lifted the lid on their rivalry, insisting he wouldn't "back off" from Keane even now.
The pair almost came to blows during a heated on-pitch confrontation 20 years ago, when Manchester United visited St James' Park. Keane was shown a red card late in Newcastle's 4-3 win and went for Shearer - who coldly eyeballed the United midfielder as other players rushed in to prevent a fight.
Now, Shearer has opened up on the infamous flashpoint - claiming that the hot-tempered Irish midfielder's bark is worse than his bite.
"Scared of him? Why would you be scared of Roy Keane?" said Shearer in an interview with UMM. "His bark is worse than his bite.
"I wouldn't back off with Roy Keane then and I wouldn't back off with him now."
Shearer has also revealed that their 2001 confrontation carried on after that fiery on-pitch showdown, as Keane was waiting for him at the top of the stadium stairs, blocking his path to the dressing rooms.
However despite that dispute - and Shearer laughing off Keane's head-man image - the former Blackburn striker insists that the pair now share a good relationship off the pitch.
Looking back on the incident for The Athletic earlier this year, Shearer recalled: "Towards the end of Newcastle's dramatic 4-3 victory over Manchester United and in a moment of frustration, Roy threw the ball at me, there was a delicate, polite conversation (OK, it wasn't either of those things), he took a swing and missed and was then shown the red card.
"When you went from the pitch into the tunnel at St James', there were a set of steps and then you split towards the home or away dressing rooms.
"When the final whistle went, Roy was standing at the top of the stairs waiting for me.
"I'm pretty sure a few more choice words exchanged, there was some bustling and scrambling, but there were way too many people between us for anything physical to actually happen. That's usually how it pans out in football."
"Roy was never an enemy, that's definitely not the right word but when you want to win as much as we did, things would occasionally spill over.
"We've worked together on television over the years and there's never been any problem. We've got on well. And what a competitor and player he was."
So no backing down but also some mutual respect between Keane and Shearer.
All the same, it's still a pay-per-view fight we'd love to see if ITV and BBC get tired of just showing live international football in the coming weeks.
Imagery: PA Images/YouTube