Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Roy Carroll: I savoured my fierce battles with Thierry Henry

ONCE upon a time, and not that long ago, Manchester United v Arsenal used to be hugely competitive.

There was an intense rivalry that spilled over into legendary confrontations between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, rather than one team meekly surrendering and losing 8-2 like Arsenal did at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Roy Carroll loved those battles and in his four year spell with United played in many epic contests against the Gunners included a 4-2 victory which followed a legendary tunnel spat between Keane and Vieira.

“I played in a lot of big United v Arsenal games. Unlike Sunday they were close contests with a real edge,” says Carroll.

“Back then it always seemed to be the two of us going for the title and there was fierce rivalry, never more so when Roy and Patrick Vieira had a go at each other in the tunnel at Highbury.

“There was always an incredible battle between those two and on the ‘tunnel night’ we played brilliantly and won the game.”

Keane v Vieira wasn’t the only duel to keep an eye on with Carroll himself constantly tussling physically and verbally with Gunners icon Thierry Henry.

He says: “There are quite a few pictures of me and Thierry Henry squaring up to each other. It was just football, nothing personal.

“Henry was one of their most dangerous players and you would try anything to keep him quiet. Both teams hated losing and didn't want to give an inch.

“I remember the FA Cup final in 2005. It was a shame to lose that game to them on penalties, but it was an honour to play in it.

“A better ending was when we beat them 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park the year before and I made a few good saves. That’s a great memory for me.”

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