Every time Roy Keane appears in the ITV studio at the 2018 World Cup, viewers hold their breath.
The sight of the former Manchester United man sitting rigid in ITV’s Tardis-like studio as Mark Pougatch attempts to draw out some analysis is a sight to behold.
And when Keane does finally deliver his verdict, it’s often, well, brutal.
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On Saturday night Keane was in the studio for Croatia’s 2-0 victory over Nigeria along with fellow pundits Slaven Bilic and Lee Dixon.
Bilic was, unsurprisingly, feeling pretty upbeat after watching his country Croatia win to move top of their group.
It didn’t take long for Keane to puncture the positivity, however.
Roy Keane taking Bilic down a peg or two pic.twitter.com/1Nn855BP0H
— Pat McCarry (@patmccarry) June 16, 2018
“With the greatest respect to Iceland, if we get a point against Argentina then with a win against Iceland, we are top of the group,” Bilic said, telling his colleagues he had reason to be positive.
“Of course I am positive. I’ve played for good clubs, who were always positive.”
Keane was quick to knock him back.
“It’s a good attitude to have,” he said drily.
“There are some tough games ahead for them. I know it rolls off the tongue to say: ‘Just get a draw against Argentina and beat Iceland.’ If the game was as simple as that, it’d be great. But, no, there are a tough few weeks coming up for Croatia and I think Argentina will beat them.”
During the night Bilic attempted to draw a smile out of Keane, or at the very least encourage him to be part of the debate. While explaining his point, he would turn to Keane and put a hand on his shoulder.
Judging by Keane’s face, this did not go down well.
— JP (@BobProcterr) June 16, 2018
Bilic just touched Roy Keane‘s arm. I suspect he will be lying in the street with a broken leg within the hour.
— Harry Dukes Jnr (@HarryDukesJnr) June 16, 2018
Later as the pundits discussed England manager Gareth Southgate’s decision to name his team early for their first match against Tunisia, Keane took the opportunity to have another dig at Bilic and Dixon.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 16, 2018
“I played under two great managers, Brian Clough and Alex Ferguson, and they generally would name the team an hour or two before kick-off. That never bothered me… probably because I always knew I would be starting,” he said, before gesturing to Bilic and Dixon, saying, “The lads might give you a better answer on that.”
Dixon laughed it off; Bilic remained stony-faced.
Some viewers back home, perhaps unused to Keane’s recent punditry run-outs, were flummoxed as to why Keane looked so miserable.
— Scott Innes (@Flying_Inside) June 16, 2018
But other fans couldn’t get enough of it, with 5 Live presenter Colin Murray calling him “the Father Jack of football punditry”.
— colin murray (@ColinMurray) June 16, 2018
Roy Keane on a football panel always reminds me of Michael Corleone in the Godfather, seconds before he blows away Sollozzo and McCluskey in the restaurant……
— John Ludden (@Johnludds) June 16, 2018
Either way, if the rest of the tournament is anything like as tense as this, it’s going to be well worth sticking around for the ITV post-match chat.
Keane v Bilic is warming up nicely
— Rookmeister (@Rookmeister) June 16, 2018