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Keane set to leave Man Utd at end of season
September 30, 2005 11:09 IST
Captain Roy Keane says he is likely to leave Manchester United at the end of the season.
The Ireland midfielder's contract runs out in June 2006 and he does not expect to be offered a fresh deal.
"I would be surprised if United offered me a new contract. It's my gut feeling," Keane told the club's in-house TV station on Thursday.
"If United did offer me a contract it would be around April and that would be too late. I would like to have something sorted out in January.
"I would like to play on for another year or two and it would be good experience for me to play at another club or in another country."
But Keane said he would find it difficult to play for another English Premier League side.
"When I say playing for another team, I can't see it being an English team. That would be hard to stomach," he said.
"I would like to get into coaching and experiencing a different dressing room would help that. I will be 35 in the summer and there are good players coming through at United and the time would be right."
Keane, who has played a pivotal part in United's successes since joining from Nottingham Forest for 3.75 million pounds ($6.62 million) in 1993, ruled out a move to the coaching staff at Old Trafford.
"Sometimes it's better to make a clean break. People have mentioned coaching at United but it doesn't appeal to me," he said.
TEAM TO BEAT
The Irishman would like to win another Premier League title before leaving and believes his side can catch Chelsea despite being 10 points behind the leaders already.
"Chelsea are the team to beat at the moment and we don't want to lose too many games because we found out last year that makes it difficult," said Keane.
"But to say we are out of the title race is ridiculous. There is still such a long way to go."
United were criticised by their supporters and manager Alex Ferguson booed during last Saturday's home defeat by Blackburn Rovers.
Keane said the incidents were blown out of proportion although he urged his team mates to show more character.
"We have always had talented players but what players need to show now is character," he said. "That disappointed me against Blackburn because that's when you need players to stick their chests out and say 'give me the ball'.
"This team has to learn to grind out results when everything isn't going your way. You have to stand up."
Ferguson's assistant Carlos Queiroz says the apparent 'stupid' taunt he aimed at the fans following their reaction to the Blackburn defeat was a misinterpretation of remarks he made to the Portuguese paper O Jogo.
"The comments attributed to me in the press on Tuesday are not an accurate reflection of my view of the fans, or what I said," Queiroz told the club's website on Thursday.
"We have the best fans in football. Their loyalty, passion, support and respect for the team and the game are testament to this.
"I am only sorry that what I said was misinterpreted."