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May 11, 2013

Keane pays tribute to Ferguson

Roy Keane has paid a glowing tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson and told ITV Sport his old boss has made the "right decision" to retire as Manchester United manager.

• 'Retirement not due to health'
• Moyes replaces Ferguson

The relationship between Ferguson and long-time midfield talisman Keane soured in their final days together at United, but the Irishman put those differences to one side as he praised the mentor who turned him into a world star.

"I wasn't as shocked as everyone else has been that he retired, and I think he made the right decision," Keane told ITV Sport. "The man is 71 years of age, and the demands of working with modern players are probably a little more difficult than it was in my day.

"I am disappointed, because it is always sad to see a great manager leave the game, but I think he has made the right choice. I have massive respect for him for what he has done as a manager, and I am very lucky to have played under him."

Keane suggested the outgoing United manager's understanding of what made a footballer tick made him special, and insisted he had escaped a blast from Ferguson's famous 'hairdryer' during his time at Old Trafford.

"He just knew how to handle a player," added Keane. "When to give a pat on the back, what to say on big days, how to deal with players like myself when we stepped out of line.

"I might need different treatment to Nicky Butt or Eric Cantona, but he always got it spot on. He may have made a few mistakes, especially with me at the end, but he was a great manager.

"I remember one game when I wasn't doing well, and he just sat down with me in the dressing room at half-time and said: 'Come on, Roy. You can do better.' That hurt me more than shouting, bawling.

"The hairdryer was a gimmick the media used. He never did that to me. What was important for the great players I played with at United is we didn't want to let the manager down - that is what the best leaders bring out in people. When we lost a big game, we felt bad for letting him down."

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