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‘Shy’ Roy Keane drank ‘six or seven pints’ before his ‘intrepid’ debut for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool, he was teased by team-mates but kicked John Barnes and told him to ‘fuck it camp “


Pints, p***-taking and thunderous tackles – Roy Keane’s debut in English football for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool was everything you imagined and more.

It’s not often the two teams meet these days, but they will on Sunday night in the FA Cup – live on talkSPORT – and a famous meeting in 1990 saw the birth of icon.

Keane’s start to life in English football was certainly wild

He may have become grumpy and gruff, both on and off the pitch, but he was once a young rookie in English football. Not that it looks like it.

Keane joined the Tricky Trees of Cobh Ramblers in the summer of 1990, aged 19, and while some youngsters might take their time settling in, Keane’s impact was almost instantaneous.

The Irishman sat out Forest’s opener against Queens Park Rangers and was therefore offered a substitute appearance for the reserves.

As was the case with footballers back then – and 19-year-olds – the pints were quickly consumed.

“I kept going for the last ten minutes [of the reserves match] and the first team were playing Liverpool on Tuesday night,” Keane said on Monday Night Football.

“I went out that night with the players, like you do after a reserve game, I didn’t drink too much – maybe six, seven pints after the game. I came on Tuesday and was told “get dressed”.

‘Shy’ Roy Keane drank ‘six or seven pints’ before his ‘intrepid’ debut for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool, he was teased by team-mates but kicked John Barnes and told him to ‘fuck it camp “

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Keane may have been 19 but he was ready to be a superstar

Keane added: “What Brian Clough has done most of the time, for young players, brings you with the first team just as an experience. Carry the dumpsters, help the kitman, so I rode [and] met some of the hotel players.

“[I] was putting the gear on with the kitman and Brian Clough said ‘what are you doing’ and I said I was getting the gear out – he said ‘no no, put that top on’ .

These days we all know the badass Keane, but back then the sight of a young Keane, freshly signed in the No.7 shirt after several pints the night before, caused an astonishing reaction.

His teammates took the p***.

‘Shy’ Roy Keane drank ‘six or seven pints’ before his ‘intrepid’ debut for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool, he was teased by team-mates but kicked John Barnes and told him to ‘fuck it camp “

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Keane’s talents were easily recognized by Clough at Forest

“The coach would regularly ask one of the youngsters to put on a tracksuit and get on the team bus with us. It was a way of giving them a taste of things,” Forest right-back Brian Laws told The Athletic.

“No one knew who he was. I had never spoken to Roy. He hadn’t even trained with the first team. He was very shy, very quiet.

“But he pushed the dumpsters [of kit and other gear] at Anfield he helped arrange the shirts and I remember being in the dressing room. It was maybe 80 minutes before kick-off and the gaffer said, ‘Roy, put on that No.7 shirt. I want to see how it looks on you’.

“The rest of us are all laughing, thinking the gaffer is just pulling his leg. Roy puts it on and Clough says, ‘You look like a million dollars. In fact, you know what? You look so good, you play”.

‘Shy’ Roy Keane drank ‘six or seven pints’ before his ‘intrepid’ debut for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool, he was teased by team-mates but kicked John Barnes and told him to ‘fuck it camp “

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Laws was the man tasked with ‘helping’ Keane on his debut

“We laugh even more. But Clough is not. He is deadly serious. You could see the color draining from Roy’s cheeks.

“‘You’re going to play right wing,’ Clough said, before looking at me and adding, ‘You take care of him.’ I think: ‘To take care of who? Fuck me, I’m against John Barnes and I have to take care of this young boy too? My God…’.

Barnes had just won the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award after scoring 22 goals in Liverpool’s title win.

‘Shy’ Roy Keane drank ‘six or seven pints’ before his ‘intrepid’ debut for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool, he was teased by team-mates but kicked John Barnes and told him to ‘fuck it camp “

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Barnes was in his pump but Keane knew exactly how to handle it

Laws was understandably nervous about having Keane in front of him, but it turns out he didn’t need to.

He added: “Within five minutes of the game Roy had stomped Barnes; it had stood on top of him. He threw it and just said “F*** off” to him when he tried to complain.

“I had no reason to worry, he was fantastic. He wasn’t a winger, it showed, but he had so much energy and was completely fearless. He threw himself into tackles and he didn’t say not who the opponent was.

“I didn’t have to take care of him. He took care of me.

“All the Liverpool players were looking at him like, ‘Who do you think you are?’ He would just growl.

It was classic Keane. Even at 19 he had no fear and despite a 2-0 loss – Barnes only managed one assist – his presence was felt and the first chapter of an astonishing career in English football was launched.

After three years Keane was onto bigger things and despite interest from Liverpool, Real Madrid and Blackburn Rovers, he joined Manchester United in 1993.

‘Shy’ Roy Keane drank ‘six or seven pints’ before his ‘intrepid’ debut for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool, he was teased by team-mates but kicked John Barnes and told him to ‘fuck it camp “

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Keane would quickly earn plenty of silverware, lifting the Premier League trophy in his first season with United

He played a pivotal role in the club’s heyday in the late 1990s and helped them win a historic treble in 1999.

In total, Keane helped Man United win seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League, although he missed out on the final after a gargantuan act of self-sacrifice against Juventus in their half’s second leg. -final.

But at the start of it all, on a Tuesday night at Anfield, as a fresh-faced teenager for Forest, Roy Keane gave no f*** – and he never will.

You can listen to live talkSPORT commentary from Nottingham Forest v Liverpool on Sunday March 20 at 6pm.

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