27/12/2009 08:49, Report by Paul Davies
Players of the Decade: #5
It seems a long time ago, but at the turn of the century the player at Old Trafford was Royston Maurice Keane – our no.16, captain and inspiration.
The midfielder's greatest season – without question – was 1999/2000, and he picked up three individual honours to prove it: the PFA, Football Writers' and Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards. Had United retained the Champions League, he’d surely have added the Ballon d’Or.
Has there ever been a better captain? Those who saw Johnny Carey would argue his case, the Babes had their own incredible leader in Roger Byrne and Bryan Robson was a marvel of a skipper for club and country.
But Keane exhibited the best qualities of all three: leading by example, galvanising his team-mates (normally verbally) and dominating every other midfield in the country.
Some say we’ve still not replaced him. There’s a reason for that: you can’t. The finest midfielder of his generation and the catalyst for all United's early noughties success.