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new life David Meyler on Roy Keane's 'unbelievable' Instagram success and life after football

The former Manchester United and Ireland captain has collected more than two million followers on Instagram in double quick time.

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The 2022 SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme was launched by Republic of Ireland women's footballer Louise Quinn and former Republic of Ireland footballer David Meyler. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The 2022 SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme was launched by Republic of Ireland women's footballer Louise Quinn and former Republic of Ireland footballer David Meyler. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The 2022 SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme was launched by Republic of Ireland women's footballer Louise Quinn and former Republic of Ireland footballer David Meyler. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Roy Keane has emerged as one of the most unlikely Instagram influencers of them all and David Meyler admits he didn't believe his former manager and coach had turned himself into a social media star.

Keane had been highly critical of footballer taking selfies after matches and posting them on their social media channels, but the former Manchester United and Ireland captain is now a big winner after collecting more than two million followers on Instagram in double quick time.

Meyler worked under Keane during his time as Sunderland manager and again when he was part of the Ireland set-up as Martin O'Neill's assistant and he admits Keano the influencer took some getting used to.

"I didn't believe the Instagram account was really him when it started," Meyler told sundayword.com as he promoted the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme.

"I actually had to text him to check it was real and he got back to me to confirm it was. I never thought I'd see the day when Roy Keane was a social media star! It just shows you that anyone can get into social media, even Roy Keane."

Despite his own success as a YouTuber playing FIFA football games online, Meyler suggests social media channels can have a corrosive impact if the abuse that tends to flow on them hits home.

"We live in a negative world where everyone wants to be negative," he continued. "If you tweet out that you like oranges, someone will reply that you should like apples.

"This is the world we live in now. Everyone wants likes, everyone wants followers for their social media page or if you are a journalist, you want as many people as possible to read you article. That's the world we live in now.

"Twitter is a good and a bad thing. That's the reality of it. What you have to do is treat it as something you cannot take too seriously.

"If you go in there, you open yourself up to negativity and while you always say ignore the mentions, it is hard to avoid them sometimes. No matter how thick skinned you are, it will affect you at some point, but that's the challenge of being in that world."

Meyler also opened up about his life after football, after he was forced to retire in 2019 at the age of 30 due to injury.

Admitting his fitness levels have dropped since he hung up his boots, he has now decided to try and get back into shape to give him a focus in life once again.

"In the two years since I retired, I haven't done too much fitness," he added. "When you are in a sport where you dedicate your life to being fit and preparing for games, you don't see a reason to do it outside of that.

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"What I realise now is doing nothing is not good for your mental health. Getting up in the morning and going for a run sets you in good stead for the day ahead and I wish I had done this sooner.

"When your football career ends, it's tough to come to terms with that. You are totally focused on that career and you are selfish in the way you go about your work. It is all about you and your next match.

"I was fortunate to have a very supportive wife who looked after everything away from the pitch and allowed me to be selfish and focus on me and what was important in terms of training and games.

"Once you stop, you then have to adjust to a 'normal' life. You are up with the kids in the morning, getting them ready for school and doing what everyone else does. I missed out on that when I was footballer, but you need to adapt to that when you career ends."

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme is open to boys and girls from 4th, 5th and 6th class, and puts emphasis on fun and inclusivity. Register for the SPAR5s by March 4th at www.fai.ie/SPARPrimarySchool5s

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