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Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 09:22 GMT
Keane faces hip replacement
Roy Keane
Keane's hip remains a cause for concern
Manchester United captain Roy Keane has revealed he will almost certainly need a hip replacement after retiring from football.

Keane, who retired from the international game this week because of the problem, has been told by surgeons he may need to undergo the operation before his 45th birthday.

The 31-year-old underwent a hip operation by specialist Richard Villar last September.

And Keane has now admitted that he nearly quit the game altogether last year because of the complaint.

"There was a lot more damage than he expected," he told the Sunday Times newspaper.

"His (Villar's) exact words were, 'I will be glad if you can get back playing, full stop'. We discussed the possibility of my having to retire.

"He talked about the likelihood of a hip replacement at a very young age and asked me about life after football."

Keane was this week berated in the Irish press for retiring from international football.

Headlines such as "Betrayed" adorned the back pages of newspapers and he was accused of reneging on a pledge to Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr to return to the international fold.

It was my decision - Roy Keane doing what is best for Roy Keane

Roy Keane on his international retirement

But Keane said: "I feel let down by what has happened in Ireland.

"I've cooled off a bit but there's a lot of negative things over there. People need to remember the bloody good things when I played for Ireland."

Some reports suggested that Keane was pushed into his decision by club manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

But the combative midfielder insisted it was taken solely on health grounds.

He added: "This wasn't the manager or the medical people at the club telling me what to do.

"Don't think for a second this wasn't my decision. It was my decision - Roy Keane doing what is best for Roy Keane."

His hip complaint first emerged back in September 2001.

It led to him having Voltarol injections in the joint ahead of every game and stopped him training two days either side of playing.

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11 Feb 03 | Republic of Ireland
12 Feb 03 | Man Utd
12 Feb 03 | Republic of Ireland
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