Jason McAteer has called out former Republic of Ireland team-mate Roy Keane over his shameful ‘stop crying’ comments towards former striker Jon Walters.
Keane and Walters – who worked together at Ipswich Town at international level – have been involved in an ongoing spat since last year, when the Manchester United legend was angry at the injured forward for not training with the Ireland squad.
The hot-headed former midfielder was asked about that incident during an event with Irish broadcaster Off the Ball, and used the opportunity to cruelly criticise Walters for ‘crying on the TV about his family situation’ while also ridiculing him about his lack of trophies.
Last year, 35-year-old Walters – who retired from playing in March – spoke bravely as he opened up on the heartache of losing his mother when he was just 11, losing his brother last year, his wife suffering a miscarriage and his daughter being diagnosed with spinal condition scoliosis.
Keane said at the event: “Jon does a lot of talking, it’s amazing. Imagine if Jon won a trophy. He talks a good game.
“He goes on the TV, on about how he was harshly treated by me, not kicking a ball for Burnley for two or three years, crying about his family situation.
“You know, how about lying low for a while, taking it easy?
“Have a look at his medals – it wouldn’t take long.”
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And McAteer, who played against Keane in club football but alongside him for Ireland, has told talkSPORT: “I would rather have mates than medals.”
Speaking on Friday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the former Liverpool man said: “We all know Roy, he says what he wants and that’s why he’s box office because he says it how he thinks.
“It’s very watchable at times, but unfortunately I do feel he lets himself down with the comments he makes about other players and I was disappointed that Roy come out and said some of the things he did.
“Jonny is a brilliant guy and he’s an advocate for mental health. He’s gone on telly and put himself out on a limb because he feels it’s going to help people, and it is.
“We need to create more awareness of mental health these days and what people go through, certainly elite sportspeople because it’s a very demanding environment and unfortunately when you come out of it it leaves you with problems sometimes.
“Jonny feels the need to come out and help people, which is fantastic, you take your hat off to him for that. So for Roy to bring him down and suggest he needs to stop crying on the telly, it was a poor comment.
“I think he got wrapped up in the environment, everyone was laughing, there was a lot of people in the audience and he maybe got a little bit too comfortable with his comments and he let himself down.
“As far as of the other comments between them, they are Roy’s opinions and Jonny has come out and said what he needed to say about the situation, and it’s just whose story you believe.
“Roy does like the medals one, but at the end of the day you can’t take the medals down the pub and have a pint with them. They don’t talk back to you.
“I’d rather have a couple of mates than a couple of medals, to be honest.”