Roy Keane and John O'Shea

O’Shea: How Keane taught me a lesson

Thursday 28 October 2021 07:00

When John O’Shea arrived at Manchester United, he couldn’t have asked for a much better role model to look up to than Roy Keane.

Keane was arguably at the peak of his powers and captained both the club and country that O’Shea strived to represent over the years that followed. 

Prior to his first-team debut that came in the opening months of the 1999/2000 season, the latter had multiple opportunities to train with the senior group and pick the brains of Roy and co from week to week. 

Brushing shoulders with his future team-mates on the training ground was a major part of his early footballing education in Manchester, however, there were other, less favoured instances that the more experienced players like Keane helped O’Shea to learn during his early years at the club, as he explains in the latest episode of the UTD Podcast

John O'Shea - "Why Sir Alex always trusted me"


Due to popular demand, John O'Shea finally joins the UTD Podcast this week and it's an incredible episode, after he sat down with us at Old Trafford and looked back on his 10+ years at the Theatre of Dreams.   Sheasy had so many iconic moments; nutmegging Luis Figo, the chipped goal against Arsenal at Highbury and the last-minute winner at Liverpool to name just a few!   He told us all about that and more, including the tough lesson he learned at the hands of Roy Keane, and why he thinks Sir Alex trusted him to play in every position at the club.

Sitting down with our co-hosts David May, Helen Evans and Sam Homewood, for a chat that you can listen to in full on the Official App and via all other podcast providers now, O’Shea told a brilliant story of how our Treble-winning skipper taught him a valuable lesson during his younger days in the senior side, after he had just moved into a new house.

“I’ll always remember, one of the first times, I’d just moved house and I’d never left from the house to meet up at a hotel the night before [a game],” our former no.22 said. 

“And we had to be at Old Trafford for say about half-six so I’m thinking I’ll leave at six, plenty of time, there’ll be no dramas but obviously it’s Friday evening, there’s a bit more work traffic, a bit more whatever else. 

“So, I’m starting to sweat a bit here but I’m thinking, thankfully, the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] wasn’t going to be there, he was going to meet us at the hotel. 

“So, I’m still barely in the first team, trying to put the foot down but staying in the speed limit of course so I can get there. 

“Next thing, it’s like 6:28, I’m thinking this is getting close here. It’s like 6:30 and I’m pulling in type of thing and the bus is still there, pure relief.”

Keane always wanted to help his fellow Irishman out when and where he could during their time together in M16, and so upon seeing Roy as he pulled in at Old Trafford, O'Shea thought that his captain and the other senior players would shout to stop the team coach and let him get on. 

But that wasn’t quite the case, as John explains…

“Next thing, I can see the bus moving and I’ve not parked the car yet, I’m nearly in. But then the bus is gone.

“So, I can see Roy and a few of the senior players and I’m thinking they’ve done me here. So, I’m panicking, thinking will I drive the car back? We were staying in Alderley Edge at the time, so I’m thinking what am I going to do here? 

“Quick little panic and then I thought, right, I’ll leave the car here and get a taxi and I’ll still get to the hotel in time. 

“Roy was teaching me a bit of a lesson there and, to be fair, it was my own fault. I should have known, prepared better, known the distance from the house. 

“The next day, I can’t remember who we were playing but Roy mentioned it to me again and I’m kind of like, ‘oh my god’. 

“It was a lesson, my own fault and you hold your hands up kind of thing, but I was more worried about the bus and then the senior lads were like ‘ah, we’ll teach you a lesson, Sheasy’. 

“That’s the way it was, it served me well. Those things, you have to be on top of.”
UTD Podcast: Missing the team coach Video

UTD Podcast: Missing the team coach

In his UTD Podcast, John discusses the lesson he learnt from Roy Keane after turning up late the day before a match…

Throughout the podcast, O’Shea talks of his appreciation for the way both Roy, and another of his Irish counterparts in the senior squad when he first came through, Denis Irwin, continued to help teach him the ropes and look out for him, as he began to make his way at United.

“Two fellow Munster men helped out. It was brilliant. They did [always make sure I was okay]. Obviously, Denis would have done it in a different way to Roy, if you know what I mean, but in a good way. 

“His [Keane’s] approach was straightforward – to see if you’re any good and then if you are, you’re alright type of thing!

“It was straightforward for me because I was starting to make inroads a little bit with the Irish teams as well and it was amazing for me to have them to look up to.”

Listen to the full UTD Podcast episode with John O’Shea now, via the Official App.