Keane backs the modern player
Roy Keane believes the image of the modern-day footballer has been misconstrued by media coverage.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 28/03/08 2:53pm
Sunderland manager Roy Keane believes the image of the modern-day footballer has been misconstrued by media coverage.
Last week, The Football Association launched its new Respect initiative aimed at improving the conduct towards match officials, which is already being trialled in 20 regional leagues around the country.
The announcement was made in the same week that Chelsea's Ashley Cole came under heavy criticism after he caught Tottenham's Alan Hutton with a high tackle and turned his back on referee Mike Riley during the 4-4 draw at White Hart Lane.
Then, on Grand Slam Sunday, Liverpool's Javier Mascherano was dismissed after referee Steve Bennett handed out two bookings in the first half of the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United, with the second infuriating the Argentine, who had to be held back from confronting Bennett.
The behaviour of Premier League players has since been heavily criticised, but Keane feels footballers' conduct has improved in recent years, while highlighting that an infrequent offence will always be heavily scrutinised by television cameras.
"What you find is, particularly through the media, they will interview ex-players and offer them £500 or a £1,000 to come out and slag someone off," he said on Sky Sports News.
"But I think the modern footballer isn't too bad. People compare them to players in the 70s and 80s but back then there wasn't the same amount of media coverage of games.
"I know players back then that would go out and try and break players' legs and they would hit people off the ball.
"But unfortunately, if you make a mistake now, it is guaranteed that a camera is going to get you. And that is the problem. Go easy on the players.
"There are a lot of hypocrites out there criticising the modern player. And there are a lot of managers who are hypocrites.
"They are saying we have got to respect the referees, but these same managers are getting sent off themselves.
"If it is not the manager then it is their staff members. At this club, I have spoken to our staff telling them we certainly do not abuse any of the officials.
"We can appeal a decision or we can ask the referee about it, maybe at half-time or the end of the game.
"But we don't go chasing the officials or anything like that - credit to my players for that.
"It doesn't mean you don't appeal a decision, don't get me wrong. It is important you do show respect the officials."