Manchester United: 7 Most Outspoken Players in Red Devils History
Throughout the long and illustrious history of Manchester United Football Club, there have been players who have kept to the shadows—keen to avoid the public spotlight due to their modesty or shyness.
The likes of Paul Scholes and Sir Bobby Charlton immediately come to mind in that respect.
Then there are those who are unafraid to let their opinions be known, whether it's to the press, their fellow teammates or, even on occasion, the manager.
Here are seven of the most outspoken men to have ever worn the red of United.
There are few in Manchester United history who can say that they once pulled a gun on Sir Alex Ferguson, but according to former defensive brute Steve Bruce, Paul Ince can lay claim to that prestigious honour (via The Guardian).
Bruce claims that Ince "was a bit mad. He liked to think he was the 'Guv'nor' and it showed how much front he had. I just thought, 'Who's this cocky little thing from West Ham?'"
"He was only 21 or 22 and he brought a big air rifle in to shoot [Sir Alex]. It was tongue in cheek but he knocked on the door, poked the gun through and said, 'You'd better stop picking on me and you'd better play me on Saturday!'"
Ince's big mouth eventually earned him a one-way ticket to Milan in 1995 (Internazionale).
A defensive rock for United in the late '70s and '80s, Gordon McQueen was never shy to air his thoughts in the dressing room.
Upon signing for Dave Sexton's side in 1978, the Scotsman was quick to point out that if you "ask all the players in the country which club they would like to play for, 99 percent would say 'Manchester United.'"
The remaining one percent, as he put it, "are liars."
Since retirement, McQueen has used his naturally opinionated nature to provide colour commentary for both television and radio, and he is never afraid to speak his mind.
"I am not a man. I am Cantona."
Although that legendary remark could easily be mistaken as being one of Eric Cantona's less-than modest quotes from his playing time in Manchester, it is rather a line of dialogue from Ken Loach's 2011 film Looking for Eric.
And although scripted, the expression easily sums up a man whose ego is only matched in size by his God-given talent.
Also worth a mention is his description of fellow countryman Didier Deschamps as a "water-carrier" and "nothing special" in 1996. Little wonder the enigma never made much of an impact on the international stage.
Out of all the players in the current Manchester United squad, one can always rely on French full-back Patrice Evra to speak his mind in the post-match press conferences and media blitzes.
When the Red Devils play poorly, Evra, after Sir Alex, will be the first to admit it, even when he himself had been one of the biggest culprits.
A controversial figure for his leading of a rebellion against then-France manager Raymond Domenech at the 2010 World Cup, Evra is less than popular in his home nation.
In defending himself after having been attacked by former player Lilian Thuram in the aftermath of the incident, Evra remarked to Le Figaro, "What we did in South Africa was serious. Why put the oil on the fire? It is not enough to walk with books on slavery, glasses and a hat to become Malcolm X.” (h/t Goal.com)
Another former United player putting his outspoken views to good use, the now-pundit and England coach Gary Neville has impressed many in the game in recent years with his honesty and impartiality.
Such was not the case whilst he was at Old Trafford, though—one of his most famous quotes once outlined his club loyalties bare in the simplest of terms.
"I can’t stand Liverpool, I can’t stand Liverpool people, I can’t stand anything to do with them."
Not one to mince his words, is he?
One of several bubbly personalities in the Manchester United dressing room for much of the '60s, the fiery Catholic Paddy Crerand was known to engage in more than his fair share of (mostly) good-natured bust-ups with fellow players.
Now working for the club's in-house channel MUTV, co-commentator Crerand can be sure to be relied upon for passionate remarks during games.
He recently weighed in on the ongoing racism saga revolving around John Terry, with his opinion naturally pulling no punches:
John Terry should know better as should we all in this day & age. We are far more aware & educated about racism— Paddy Crerand (@PatCrerand) September 27, 2012
But perhaps the ultimate in outspoken Manchester United players is Irish dragon Roy Keane.
The hard-nosed box-to-box midfielder's style of football often resembled his personality off the pitch—brutal and brutally honest.
Captain Fantastic was never one to tow the line for the sake of it, often ripping into his own teammates during or after games for their supposed lack of effort.
He famously once tore into then-youngster Darren Fletcher, saying, "I can't understand why people in Scotland rave about Darren Fletcher."
Fletcher has since gone on to say, "I think I'm the professional I am now because of Roy. He made clear the standards expected of a Manchester United player."
Who do you think are the most outspoken players in Manchester United history?