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Jason McAteer says Keano is softer than he looks

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Keano's a big ole softie
Keano's a big ole softie

Jason McAteer has had something of a tempestuous relationship with Roy Keane down the years and now he has suggested his former Republic of Ireland team-mate is a bit of a softie.

Keane has rarely been too flattering of McAteer when asked about the former Liverpool midfielder, yet it seems as if the scary image the current Ireland assistant manager promotes may be all for show.

"What you see on the telly when he's doing press conferences, that's his character. He's not like that really," McAteer told Sky Sports.

"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."

Quite how Keane will react to being described as soft is open to debate, but McAteer confirmed that the demands he places on those around are 

"He is very demanding. He wants you to reach the heights that he demands.

"I remember we went away and played Holland and went 2-0 up in the first game of the campaign and we ended up drawing 2-2.

"We were sat there celebrating as if it was a great result and he was fuming that we'd give the two goals away. He was fuming and you look at it and think 'he's right'.

"He demands and it brings the best out of you."