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Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira Argue over Joint Arsenal and Manchester United XI

22 Aug 1999:  Roy Keane of Manchester United clashes with Patrick Vieira of Arsenal during the FA Carling Premiership match against Arsenal played at Highbury in London, England.  The match finished in a 2-1 win to Manchester United.  \ Mandatory Credit:Clive Brunskill /Allsport
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson may not be the only Old Trafford figure that Roy Keane still holds a gripe with after Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers all missed out on making the former midfielder's Manchester United dream team.

The Republic of Ireland assistant manager picked his fantasy line-up of Red Devils based on players who featured while he was at the club, as part of the ITV4 documentary Best of Enemies set to air on Tuesday evening.

The programme remaps the dispute between Keane and his infamous rival Patrick Vieira, who picks an opposing XI of his dream Arsenal side, also made up of players from his time in North London. Needless to say the competition between the two resulted in a miniature revival of their head-to-head rivalry.

It seems all too coincidental that the majority of players in Keane's team have each had their quarrels with Sir Alex Ferguson through the years, with room made for the controversial likes of David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Paul Parker at right-back.

Keane's line-up in full:

Roy Keane's Dream Manchester United XI
GoalkeeperPeter Schmeichel
Right-BackPaul Parker
Centre-BackGary Pallister
Centre-BackJaap Stam
Left-BackDenis Irwin
Right MidfieldDavid Beckham
Centre MidfieldPaul Ince
Centre MidfieldRoy Keane
Left MidfieldCristiano Ronaldo
StrikerEric Cantona
StrikerRuud van Nistelrooy

Speaking on some of his selections, per Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail, Keane says:

You know you don’t win league titles by having choir boys in your dressing room. These boys did challenge the manager in different ways. Becks challenged the manager, but because you marry a certain woman doesn't mean you’re challenging the manager. Far from it.

I think the manager’s got to understand that we've got different personalities in our dressing room but maybe that’s why we are winning trophies.

Although the occasion may not have necessarily called for comment on the Irishman's long-standing feud with ex-manager Sir Alex Ferguson, it seems the contest with his United mentor is never far from Keane's thoughts.

Vieira also had his share of heated moments at Highbury, but didn't have quite as many issues within his own camp as his Manchester United counterpart.

As a result, the Frenchman's Arsenal XI is a less surprising collection of North London greats:

Patrick Vieira Dream Arsenal XI
GoalkeeperDavid Seaman
Centre-BackTony Adams
Centre-BackSol Campbell
Left-BackAshley Cole
Right MidfieldFreddie Ljungberg
Centre MidfieldPatrick Vieira
Centre MidfieldEmmanuel Petit
Left MidfieldRobert Pires
StrikerDennis Bergkamp
StrikerThierry Henry

However, the ex-Premier League pair weren't as agreeable when it came to picking a joint XI and, per Gaughan's report, were mostly drawn into debate regarding who should occupy the left-back spot:

'You’d have Denis Irwin in there every day of the week,’ Keane said bullishly.

‘No,’ was the straight reply. ‘Ashley (Cole) is...’ Vieira started before being cut off.

‘Never heard any off the field stuff (with Irwin),’ smiled Keane.

The right side of midfield was another contentious area, with Robert Pires and David Beckham being the argued cases of each representative. Keane lost the battle, but not before proclaiming: "Pires over Becks? Jesus, Patrick!"

Eventually, the duo were able to settle upon a dream XI (XII):

Keane/Vieira Combines Manchester United/Arsenal Dream XI
GoalkeeperPeter Schmeichel
Centre-BackTony Adams
Centre-BackJaap Stam
Left-BackAshley Cole/Denis Irwin
Right MidfieldCristiano Ronaldo
Centre MidfieldRoy Keane
Centre MidfieldPatrick Vieira
Left MidfieldRobert Pires
StrikerThierry Henry
StrikerEric Cantona

Many fans would have gone to great lengths in order to see Keane and Vieira suit up in the same side, with a mature sense of healthy competition usually rising to the fore between the two, regardless of any heated flare-ups that frequently occurred.

It's a fearsome side that the turn-of-the-century icons are able to come up with containing their former teammates, but the decision to overlook Giggs—the most decorated player in Premier League history—is bound to spark debate.

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