Roy Keane still wishes he ripped Carlos Queiroz’s head off at Manchester United and Iran manager failed with Real Madrid ‘Galacticos’ – but England are facing coach who Sir Alex Ferguson adored at World Cup

    There will be one instantly recognisable face when England take on Iran in the opening game of their 2022 World Cup campaign.

    No, we are not talking about Milad Mohammadi, the guy who did the roly-poly throw-in against Spain in 2018.

    Remember the bloke on the left?

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    Remember the bloke on the left?

    He’s the Iran boss now

    Reuters

    He’s the Iran boss now

    This is about Team Meli’s manager: Carlos Queiroz. Modern football might’ve forgotten but the streets will never.

    The Portguese coach is synonymous with every image of Sir Alex Ferguson sat on the bench chewing gum before springing into the occassional touchline outburst in Premier League Years.

    Right next to the legendary Manchester United boss for many of the glory days was Queiroz, one of the club’s most iconic assistants.

    Between 2002 and 2003, then again between 2004 and 2008, Queiroz helped the club to three Premier League titles, one Champions League and one League Cup.

    Ferguson was the master of delegation during his time at Old Trafford and Queiroz was often the man to get the cones out and put the players through their paces.

    As Ferguson said himself in his 2014 autobiography: “Queiroz was brilliant. Just brilliant. Outstanding.

    Ferguson absolutely adored Queiroz

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    Ferguson absolutely adored Queiroz

    “An intelligent, meticulous man. He was good for me. He was a rottweiler.

    “He was the closest you could be to being the Manchester United manager without actually holding the title.”

    Queiroz’s ability as a generational coach is undisputed – and that is perhaps why minnows Iran are now ranked inside the FIFA’s top 20 nations.

    They are certainly no mugs, just ask Uruguay, whose full-strength side were beaten 1-0 by Queiroz’s men as recently as September.

    This won’t be the first time Gareth Southgate has faced Queiroz

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    This won’t be the first time Gareth Southgate has faced Queiroz

    But while Queiroz is universally considered a masterful coach, he is not universally liked.

    It would probably be quicker to name the people who Roy Keane is fond off, but he reserved particularly fierce criticism for Queiroz, even by the Irishman’s standards.

    When asked about the former United assistant during the 2018 World Cup, Keane told ITV: “He was an excellent coach.

    “Probably quite defence minded. I always felt we had a decent relationship, particularly during his first spell at United.

    Surely not Keane holding a grudge?

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    Surely not Keane holding a grudge?

    “Towards the end of my time at United, I found him really disrespectful to me so we had a bit of a fall out.

    “He questioned my loyalty so I told him where to go.

    “One of my big regrets is I didn’t rip his head off.

    “But yeah, he’s an excellent coach.”

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    Classic Keane. But what actually happened?

    Queiroz quit United in 2003, after one season, when Real Madrid asked him to become their manager.

    It was an opportunity to coach the ‘Galaticos’ – Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos – but Keane did not forget.

    Queiroz was sacked after ten months in the job, falling to a fourth-place finish in LaLiga, and Ferguson welcomed him back to United with open arms.

    Madrid was just a temporary blip

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    Madrid was just a temporary blip

    Keane added: “That my was point when he was brave enough to throw that [lack of loyalty] at me.

    “Considering he’d left to go to Real Madrid and was back within 10 months with his tail between his legs.

    “But again, take nothing away from him. A really good coach and I did enjoy working under him.”

    Queiroz’s unusual career – which has also seen him coach South Africa, Portugal, Colombia and Egypt – probably does not match his famous talents.

    Queiroz has inspired some of this generation’s greatest players

    Getty

    Queiroz has inspired some of this generation’s greatest players

    But on November 21, England will be coming up against the man whose tactics inspired one of the most successful English teams in history.

    It may not be Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes – but Iran have the man who helped make them what they were.

    Ex-United defender Patrice Evra once recalled: “He never smiled. But his training sessions were perfect.

    “Even when he left United, tactically, it was not the same.

    “We kept winning the league, but tactically, we were not the same.”

    We just hope one of those tactics is roly-poly throw-ins.

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