Roy Keane: 'Spine' lets down Man Utd
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has offered up a typically feisty assessment of the plight of his former club after their worst season in more than two decades, with Old Trafford executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward firmly in the Irishman's firing line.
Speaking at the launch of ITV's World Cup coverage, Keane offered up his familiar brand of direct analysis of United after a season when they finished seventh in the Premier League.
Standing by his previously stated opinion that David Moyes should have been given more time to turn the club's fortunes around, Keane was especially direct when he reflected on the role of Woodward in the demise of the Scottish boss demise last month.
"Why give Moyes a six-year contract," questioned Keane. "He had one transfer window and it's not always down to the manager when players don't come in.
"I think Ed Woodward needs to look at himself. He's got to get deals done. I think Moyes should have been given more time."
Keane went on to offer a withering appraisal of the flaws in the current United squad, as he suggested the rebuilding job that the next Old Trafford manager will need to undertake is pretty radical.
"It's the spine of the team that's the problem," he continued. "United have come up short defensively and in the middle of the park they have not done enough.
"You watch any of the teams that are winning trophies, I'm stating the obvious, you've got to have a strong spine -- goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and striker. United have been short in two of those areas. It makes it very difficult to win trophies."
Keane suggested United defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are among those who have failed to live up to their billing since moving to Old Trafford, while his reflections of Michael Carrick's omission from England's World Cup squad left little to the imagination.
"With Carrick, I didn't fall off my chair when he was left out," stated Keane. "If you look at the form of the three players then he couldn't leave Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard out. Carrick's had a dip in form this year like a lot of the United players.
"Jones needs to toughen up, every time I see him he is getting carried off, he's got to toughen up -- he's playing for Man United.
"I don't think they'll play [at the World Cup] on their current form. If one of them had been left out I don't think it would have been a big shock. They better enjoy it while they are over there. The two of them have had disappointing seasons, but England might need them.
"Maybe that is one of the reasons why Roy has taken Jones and Smalling with the thinking that they can play full-back or midfield, but I'm sure if they get called upon Roy has seen enough of them to do that."
Meanwhile, the notoriously unemotional Keane laughed off suggestions that departing United defender Rio Ferdinand was treated poorly as he was not informed of the club's decision to decline the chance to offer him a new contract until after the club's final game of the Premier League season.
"That might have suited him," added Keane. "Not everybody wants to wander around the pitch waving and crying. It's not about walking on the pitch. He didn't have a chance to say goodbye? You can say goodbye on Twitter, can't you?"