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Saturday, 25 May, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Fergie disappointed by Keane exit
Sir Alex Ferguson's horse Rock of Gibraltar claimed victory at the Curragh on Saturday
Sir Alex Ferguson after his Irish 2000 Guineas win
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted his disappointment at Roy Keane's abrupt dismissal from the Republic of Ireland's World Cup squad.

The Manchester United manager also revealed that Keane had travelled to the World Cup final against his wishes.

Keane returned to his Cheshire home on Saturday after being sent home from the finals following a huge row with boss Mick McCarthy.

Old Trafford chief Ferguson had initially been instrumental in persuading Keane to rethink his decision to go home after his frustrations at the Republic's training facilities reached boiling point on Tuesday.

But Ferguson was powerless to help as Keane's outburst at McCarthy in a team meeting saw him unceremoniously dumped from the squad.

The Scot, watching his horse Rock of Gibraltar win the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on Saturday disclosed he had spoken to the 30-year-old on the telephone.

Ferguson added that Keane had claimed he was "quite clear about what he had done".

Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane flew back to England from Saipan airport
Keane flew back from Saipan airport

"It is disappointing. At the moment we have only had one side of the story and it doesn't make good reading," said Ferguson.

"But I spoke to Roy this morning and he is quite clear about what he has done. Mick McCarthy left a message on my answer phone and I want to speak to him."

Ferguson added that he had not wanted Keane to travel to the Far East because of concern over the Irishman's knee injury.

"I know Roy and I didn't want him to go to the World Cup as he needed an operation but he was determined to go and he didn't see defeat as an option," he said.

"People talk about Ireland going to the World Cup for a jaunt but that wasn't on his agenda.

Open Quote
He wanted me to say that he hoped Ireland do well
Close Quote
Sir Alex Ferguson

"All great sportsmen have an edge to them but I think control is important and I need to speak to Mick McCarthy - all I know is what I have read and I think that has been coloured."

Ferguson added: "Roy is the greatest player I have had and the greatest player Ireland have had.

"When I spoke to him he expected me to be interviewed and he wanted me to say that he hoped Ireland do well."

Before his dismissal from the squad, Keane had confessed how the United boss was one of the few people he could talk to.

Keane said on Thursday: "He's a good man and he gave me good words of advice. You have to listen to these people.

"The manager has the same temperament as me. He understood what I was going through."


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GROUP E
  P GD PTS
GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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