When Paul McGrath gives you advice, your first instinct would be to listen and soak it all in – particularly when the subject is the beautiful game of football.
McGrath was a player idolised by a certain Roy Keane as the Corkman tried to earn international recognition and break what he saw as a Dublin bias at underage level in Ireland.
Keane soon found himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of McGrath but sometimes you have to question advice from your heroes and Keane certainly did that in 1997.
Keane had just been hit with the news that he needed to undergo a cuciate knee operation following an infamous clash with Leeds United’s Alfe Inge Haaland.
Around the same time, McGrath called time on his international career and was honoured on a special of the episode of the Late Late Show which brought together a number of household names in Irish football, Keane included.
Late Late Show presenter Gay Byrne was keen to get Roy’s opinion of McGrath and, as often is the case, quick-witted Keane had an interesting response.
“What can you say..the funny thing is I played with Paul for about 30 games with the Irish team but I never really knew Paul because he is obviously very quiet,” said Keane.
“The first time I met Paul was about two years ago on holiday and got to know him and Caroline and the kids. As the lads said, he is a great bloke and a fantastic player.
“He rang me last week when he found out about the injury and said he was sorry about the injury. I said thanks Paul for ringing me and he said ‘well now you have to be careful. This is a serious injury, don’t be going out and don’t be drinking too much’, he says.
“I said ‘Paul are you really giving me a lecture on this’ and he said he just said ‘I’m sorry’ and hung up and that was it.”
Needless to say the audience erupted in laughter before Keane added: “I was privileged to play with Paul and when I was younger he was one player I always looked up to.