Why Roy Keane has no right to criticise Erling Haaland
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Why Roy Keane has no right to criticise Erling Haaland

04/04/24 10:20

Comparing the world’s best to League Two standard, when you fail to succeed as a League Two club owner yourself? Something is seriously wrong in the world of punditry, and we think some of the most famous TV figures are getting too big for their boots.

After Manchester City’s goalless draw with Arsenal on Sunday, Sky Sports Pundit Roy Keane slammed the performance of striker Erling Haaland, saying that he looked like a player of “League Two quality”. The Norwegian giant is the Premier League’s top scorer yet again so far this season, and after failing to score past the league’s best defensive partnership in Gabriel and Saliba, Keane took his comments to the extreme yet again.

I mean, give him a break Roy, you famously broke his dad’s leg! Haaland is a Champions League winner, Premier League and FA Cup winner, UEFA Super Cup winner, Club World Cup winner, Premier League player of the year and six-time top goalscorer… League Two standard? Not sure on that, Roy.

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This certainly isn’t the first time that Keane has seeked controversy. He labelled Virgil Van Dijk as “arrogant" after their game against Manchester United, and has had agendas against certain defenceless footballers for years, one of which famously being the Red Devils and England centre-back Harry Maguire.

Keane’s comments can sometimes be valid, and correct, but often he is harsh without analytic or thorough evidence of points he makes, causing controversy and giving Sky Sports the viewers it needs. People like entertainment, and Keane provides that as a pundit. Does Keane really enjoy getting up in the morning to discuss football? It is his job to discuss football and to give an opinion, but something tells me if he had a choice to, he’d be staying at home.

To compare one of the world’s best strikers to League Two quality does not sit right. Keane is part of the ownership group of Salford City, a side who have failed miserably in League Two since their promotion from the National League in 2019. Their player recruitment has been poor, and the club have never challenged at the top of the league for promotion, despite high investment in player wages.

Salford Fans

But it’s the manager’s fault right? Well, that’s what Keane and Co think, as the Ammies have gone through six different managers since their 2019 National League promotion, and somehow, with the budget given, none have cut the mustard.

Looking at Keane’s managerial record, both his Ipswich and Sunderland jobs ended before he could oversee over 100 matches, before he had short assistant stints at Republic of Ireland, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. Nothing too impressive.

In reaction to Keane, City boss Pep Guardiola had an excellent response, "I do not agree with him, absolutely not. He's a manager for the second or third league? I don't think so."

This got us thinking, what is the definition of a pundit? Which qualities or qualifications give a pundit the right to express an ‘expert’ opinion? Sure, some of the Premier League’s best players are pundits today, but these were exceptional individual players who were part of systems managed and controlled by managers, recruiters and directors. Does being a successful player give the right to criticise a manager’s tactics or a board’s transfer policy?

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Gary Neville

Neville is another of the UK’s biggest pundits, he’s a co-owner of Salford City, like Keane, and has managed Valencia, his record overseeing Salford since their rise into the football league has not been pretty as previously discussed, and nor was his managerial record, which included a mega 7-0 loss to Barcelona.

Days in charge: 113 Wins: 10 Draws: 7 Losses: 11

Neville was a top quality full-back in an elite Sir Alex Ferguson system, but with a poor ownership and managerial record, can a former right-back be qualified to critique the world’s best strikers? If a right-back knew how a forward thinks they would have been a forward. Should G Nev critique the higher powers in football, such as owners and directors, when he has failed at League Two level for many years, we are not so sure.

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Thierry Henry

Henry was one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players, a legend, a hero, and one that Arsenal fans will worship forever. This is a player who qualifies to make a judgement on a striker like Haaland’s performances. But that’s where it stops, looking at his managerial record, Henry should be focussing on individual forward player analysis:

Monaco (Manager) Days in charge: 103 Wins: 5 Draws: 4 Losses: 11

Montreal CF (Manager) Days in charge: 469 (During COVID) Wins: 9 Draws: 4 Losses: 16

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Troy Deeney

Deeney is bold in his opinions, and was another ex-player and pundit to try his hand at management, here is his managerial record at League Two Forest Green Rovers, a side he left bottom of the table fearing relegation:

Forest Green Rovers (Manager) Days in charge: 29 Wins: 0 Draws: 3 Losses: 3

As for others such as Jamie Carragher, Joe Cole and Jamie Redknapp, who have never even dipped into management, should they have the right to critique the decisions of a manager on a national television platform?

Sky Sports need to freshen up their panels with more credible faces, who have worked successfully within certain sectors of the game. Debating Todd Boehly’s tough start to Chelsea life or any other ownership controversy? Bring on ex-owners or directors, don’t leave it to the misinformed ex-players every single time. Debating the sacking of a manager? Let’s get some insight from a panel of ex-managers and current managers without clubs, there are plenty about…

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