Roy Keane names Newcastle United players who gave him a 'kicking' on the field

Roy Keane says three Newcastle United players were among the toughest he faced.

Gary Speed.
Gary Speed.

The former Manchester United midfielder was involved in some fiercely-contested games against the club during his long and hugely-successful playing career.

And three midfield players, in particular, left a mark on Keane, who was in the side which pipped Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle to the league title in the 1995/96 season.

Keane, speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, named David Batty, Rob Lee and the late Gary Speed as three of his most challenging opponents when asked about the best midfielders of his era.

Batty, Lee and Speed played for the Newcastle when the club, which entertains Man United on Sunday, was challenging at the top end of the Premier League in the Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson eras.

“David Batty and these players,” said 48-year-old Keane, who went into coaching when he hung up his boots in 2006. “Rob Lee would always give you a hard game. Gary Speed God rest his soul.

“These were brilliant players. Honestly, they’d always give you a tough game. OK, they probably didn’t have the headline name of a (Patrick) Vieira or all these boys, but every week you were always up against some very good players.

“Batty, Rob Lee, Gary Speed. Gary Speed was a top player to go up against.

“And, again, Gary was pretty nasty. Batty was nasty. People always remember me kicking people – a lot of these lads were kicking me! I was just retaliating over the years, that’s all.”