Walters: Keane is not a tough guy, he is a bully
Former Ireland forward stokes up growing feud ‘I don’t know why people pay attention to him’
Jonathan Walters has fired back in his increasingly volatile dispute with Roy Keane, insisting the former Manchester United captain is just a bully who is scared of him.
Walters has had two confrontations with Keane, first when he was his manager at Ipswich Town and the second last year when Keane was assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland.
Keane ridiculed Walters in an appearance in Dublin last week, both as a player and a man, even choosing to attack him for talking about a traumatic year for his family on television, which had included the death of his brother.
Walters, who is forging a successful media career of his own since retiring as a player, has hit back and claimed Keane is scared of him after he challenged him to a fight at Ipswich.
“What he went into, the stuff about crying on TV, I think that was something I never expected,” Walters said on Joe’s Liquid Football show. “He doesn’t get to me one bit. I’m possibly the only one that stood up to him, more than once. I think that’s what bothers him most. I don’t know why people pay attention; why they get that worried by Roy. Because, yes, he was an unbelievable player, known as a hard man on the pitch. But there’s a difference between being a hard man on the pitch and being a tough guy. Just because someone has a sharp tongue or a stare doesn’t make them a tough guy.
“My brother-in-law was a Marine commando, went to war, he’s a tough guy. They’re the people you say are tough guys, not Roy. That’s why I was never scared as a player.”
Walters and Keane came close to blows after the striker demanded to leave Ipswich. Walters offered to go to Keane’s house for a fight and claimed he “got inside his head”. Walters was fined two weeks’ wages for threatening to physically assault Keane and left for Stoke days later. The pair also had to be separated on international duty when Keane accused Walters and Cardiff City midfielder Harry Arter of feigning injury to avoid training.
The Republic last night beat Bulgaria 3-1 with Alan Browne, Kevin Long and James Collins all scoring their first international goals.
Heated exchange: Jonathan Walters has hit back at Roy Keane’s comments