England cricket captain Eoin Morgan holds World Cup trophy.

World Cup hero Morgan's United inspiration

England's World Cup-winning cricket captain Eoin Morgan has revealed Roy Keane was one of his earliest sporting inspirations.

The Dublin-born batsman was a beacon of calm and cool as he led his team to a famous, nerve-shredding victory at the final of cricket's biggest tournament at Lord’s, where they overcame New Zealand in dramatic fashion.
 
But, despite his reputation for composure and nerveless calculation, Morgan cited the fire-and-brimstone passion of ex-Reds skipper Keane when Inside United asked him about his support for Manchester United in 2014.
 
The 32-year old spoke to the club’s official magazine as part of our ‘My United’ series, in which famous Reds enthusiasts tell us all about their love for the club. Read on for Eoin’s thoughts on how Barcelona ‘99 hit him for six, the wonder of Wayne Rooney and, of course, Keane…
 
When and why did you first start supporting United?
“I started supporting the Reds at the age of 10. At that time two big Irish sporting icons played for United – Roy Keane and Denis Irwin. I suppose looking back at it, it was more Roy’s influence that lead me to supporting the team. The passion and determination he showed when playing was always evident.”
 
Who was your first United hero?
“Roy Keane. The other United players that I admired were Ryan Giggs and David Beckham. They were both class. Giggs with his unbelievable runs on the left wing and left side of midfield, and Beckham’s amazing touch.”
Eoin Morgan says

"Looking back, it was Roy’s influence that lead me to supporting the team. The passion and determination he showed when playing was always evident."

Can you remember the first United match you attended at Old Trafford?
“It was a local derby match when I was 16. It was a prize my club cricket team in Dublin had been given – the whole team, for winning the treble. The build-up to the game was nothing I’d ever experienced before, the noise, support and genuine love for the game. The match was nothing to write home about, ending 1-1, but it will stick with me forever.”
 
Are there many football fans in the England and Middlesex cricket teams? Who do they support?
“Everyone supports someone in both teams but probably the biggest fans of note down the years have been Steven Finn, who supports Watford, and James Anderson, who supports Burnley.”
 
Which team do you most like seeing United beat?
“Definitely Liverpool!”
Do you get a chance to watch United much at Old Trafford?
“I go to Old Trafford about twice a year and watch when I can on the television. When I’m on tour and in a good time zone, I do get to watch matches. Otherwise, I have to settle for the online match report!”
 
What’s your favourite United memory?
“The 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona – epic! I watched the final in a local pub with my dad and some of his club cricket mates.”
 
Can you pick your all-time favourite United goals?
“My favourite United goals were the two scored in the ‘99 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. After nearly 90 minutes of play, I was sure we were finished. I could never have imagined what was about to unfold. Super Teddy slotting home the first, and in what felt like about 10 seconds, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put the second in the back of the net. Two goals from two subs – genius work from Fergie!”
Video card
United's players celebrate with the trophy on the pitch after the 1999 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich
The 'epic' 1999 Champions League final – Eoin's most cherished United memory.
Who are your favourite United players?
“Wayne Rooney. His work ethic is one thing that surprised me when I first saw him play live. His speed, power and sheer competitive nature, alongside his all-round ability to change a game no matter the circumstances, is the reason why I admire him as a footballer.”
 
Finally, which player from the past do you wish you’d seen play?
“George Best. My all-time United legend is George Best. He was always considered to be one of the greatest players to grace the game and I would have loved to have seen him play live, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”
George Best.
Eoin's all-time United legend, George Best, in action at Old Trafford.
WHO IS EOIN MORGAN?
 
Eoin was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1986, and originally represented Ireland in international cricket before switching his allegiance to England. He plays his domestic cricket for Middlesex CCC and is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading one-day players and captains, who has helped to lead a revolution in the English national team’s approach to the 50-over format during the last four years.
 
This article first appeared in the March 2014 edition of the Inside United magazine. You can subscribe here.

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