I’ve never experienced the Manchester Derby as a player, but as a fan I love it when two rivals face each other and there is so much at stake.
One of the first memories of the derby that comes to mind is the heat between Roy Keane and Alf-Ing Haland. It’s not the best moment to remember, but definitely the one that was showed on the Dutch TV over and over again and stuck with me.
Take away the bad moments like that and you see a player that we could learn a lot from in how to be a real leader. The way players looked at Roy Keane says it all – he demanded respect on and off the field.
The best team he led was with Scholes alongside him in the middle, Beckham on the right, Giggs on the left, and Yorke and Cole up front. They had it all in that team, but the way he was leading them was what made them so great. I remember facing them the first time and I could see how focused he was in the tunnel. That alone had an effect on me and made me focus even more.
His rivalry with Patrick Viera will always go down as one of the greatest in the Premier League, two great leaders in their prime battling for the title. I swapped shirts with Roy Keane one game, and I remember he responded “yes kid” when I asked if I could have it. Always making sure the young ones know who’s boss.
Now we are going into a great fight again between arguably the world’s best two managers; Mourinho and Guardiola.
I’m looking forward to the first battle between the two at their Manchester clubs, and these are the games players dream to be a part of, and the big players always rise to the occasion.
The players love it. They are pumped up and hear their fans more than normal, but their mind is only on one thing. Winning the game. It’s going to be a game of masterminds, and Mourinho will try to win by surprising Pep like he loves doing. He’ll allow City to have the ball as much as they want, without a care for possession. All he needs is his players to score one more goal.
Even if it’s not your team playing, you don’t love the game if you don’t love watching this blockbuster of a match.