Keane says he nearly quit United


Manchester United captain Roy Keane nearly quit football after being sent off in a match against Newcastle United in September last year.

The former Republic of Ireland star was dismissed for throwing the ball at Alan Shearer shortly after the former England captain had scored the winner in Newcastle's 4-3 victory over United on September 15th.

Keane, quoted in an extract from his book "Keane: The Autobiography" published in today's News of the World,said he felt he had let down his family, United manager Alex Ferguson, his team mates and his club.

"Some time during (that) night I decided: Give it up, Roy. You've turned 30 - get out, get away, do something else. You've got to stop hurting yourself, hurting those you love."

"Next morning I was waiting for the gaffer (Ferguson) at the training ground....I told him I wanted to pack it in."

Ferguson advised him to reconsider and to play in a Champions League match three days later.

"I decided to play against Lille. Alex Ferguson had stood by me. Quitting would be a slap in the face for him, the last thing he needed when the club was struggling. I carried on for him."

In March, Keane, 32, signed a new four-year contract with United, a decision he said he does not regret.

"I love playing at Old Trafford. I love the club, I was made for it. This is my destiny and when I signed my new contract, I felt honoured. And I've never had a second thought about carrying on."

Keane also said he considered many of his team mates were too complacent after a number of successful seasons, in particular 1999 when they won the treble of Champions League, English league and FA Cup.

United did not win a trophy last season, but Keane said he thought that too much of the blame had been put at the door of new signings Juan Sebastian Veron and Laurent Blanc.

"Much of the criticism focused on Blanc and Veron. This was unfair. People said they couldn't adjust to the Premiership.... Rubbish."

"We weren't hungry fighters any more ... The desire wasn't there. None of us had it."

"Arsenal were hungrier than us. Liverpool also closed the gap too. At Anfield in November they won 3-1 and it could have been six. We surrendered, they glowed with the kind of purpose we'd shown when we really wanted it."