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’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Luke Ed­wards

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

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