I was tasked with replacing Roy Keane at Man Utd but we had a great relationship – we used to drink pots of tea together | The Sun

FORMER Manchester United star Alan Smith has opened up about his arrival at Old Trafford from Leeds and trying to replace legend Roy Keane.

The pair formed a great relationship as a result and Smith revealed how they used to enjoy drinking pots of tea together.

Sir Alex Ferguson brought Smith to Old Trafford in the summer of 2004 after his former team and rivals Leeds were relegated from the Premier League.

The former forward struggled to find regular game time amidst the wealth of attacking options the club possessed.

As a result, Smith began to play as a deep-lying midfielder – a role in which he would often fill in for Roy Keane as the legendary Irishman neared the end of his career.

Smith spoke to Manchester Evening News about his time at United and his experience with Keane.


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He said: "Roy Keane was impossible to replace because of his personality and the manager knew he was struggling injury-wise and couldn't play three games in a week.

"I was just someone who was willing to play that role, to try to do it to the best of my ability.

"I was never overawed by it because I thought it was a compliment, thinking that I'd never be as good as him but that I could fill in."


Keane didn't drink alcohol by the time Smith arrived and the pair gravitated toward each other on team nights out.

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He added: "Me and Roy had such a great relationship, to be honest.

"I've been a football geek my whole life and we'd talk about that, but people don't see that side of me because they think I've got a reputation, but I'm the opposite.

"I loved football from when I first started playing and for me and Roy, it was interesting because we'd go out and we would drink pots of tea and just chat about football.

"He'd tell me about all of his experiences previously."

Despite arriving from one of the club's fiercest competitors, Smith quickly found himself a place on the team and tried to fill the void opened by Keane's departure in November 2005.

Smith went on to make 93 appearances for United and scored 12 goals, but a horror double-leg break against Liverpool curtailed his career with them and he joined Newcastle in 2007.

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