Euro 2016: Roy Keane criticizes Eden Hazard's attitude claiming he would 'kick him in training'
The Republic of Ireland assistant coach was speaking ahead of their match against Belgium
Ahead of the Republic of Ireland’s second UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match against Belgium, assistant manager Roy Keane has come out and criticized Eden Hazard for his poor attitude last season. The Chelsea forward had arguably the worst season of his career, scoring four league goals – the first of which came only towards the end of April.
Keane claims Hazard is a very talented player but the constant speculation about a proposed move away from the club hurt his performances. The Belgian international was constantly linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid with the Liga club’s manager Zinedine Zidane reportedly being a big fan of the 25-year-old.
Chelsea, who were the defending champions last season, eventually finished 10th following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December and the appointment of Guus Hiddink as interim manager to steady the ship.
Speaking of Hazard, the Manchester United legend said: “Don't get me the wrong way, I think he's an outstanding player.
“But if you’d asked me if I was playing with anybody, whether I was at Forest, Rockmount, Cobh Ramblers, and they were constantly talking – if it was true – that they wanted to leave and they had a poor attitude to training, then I would kick them in training, yes.
“But I have kind of done that with most players, I suppose, even lads who didn't want to leave. It's nothing against the lad. I think he's a talented boy. He's a really, really top player.”
“He's had a difficult season, I suppose,” Keane continued. “But that's because maybe he set his standards so high the previous season.”
Chelsea had won the league title in 2014/15 and Hazard had taken home the PFA Player of the Year award too after scoring 14 goals and grabbing nine assists. However, almost the entire squad suffered at the start of the 2015/16 season and an incident between Mourinho and team doctor Eva Carneiro who had rushed to treat Hazard on the pitch was one of few controversies that derailed the Stamford Bridge club’s season.
FIFA rankings don’t matter on the pitch: Keane
Keane was questioned about the game against Belgium and asked to give his opinion on the Red Devils’ FIFA rankings. Belgium had topped the FIFA rankings at the turn of the year and were top until Argentina leapfrogged them.
“Rankings? Trust me, over the next day or two we won’t be talking about rankings,” Keane said.
“Put it this way; we don’t discuss that before we go into any game. There won’t be any fear factor. It’s our job to make sure there’s not.
“It's strange how the UEFA and FIFA rankings pan out but when you walk onto the pitch you don’t think in terms of rankings, you just think of your own performance,” he concluded.