Henry plays down Keane-Vieira duel

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:48 IST

Thierry Henry is trying to play down the confrontation between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira ahead of France's World Cup qualifying match against Ireland.

Henry plays down Keane-Vieira duel

Paris:

Thierry Henry is attempting to play down the confrontation between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira ahead of France's World Cup qualifying match against Ireland. Keane, who plays for Manchester United, and former Arsenal captain Vieira have been involved in several heated exchanges over the years in the English Premier League. "Everyone is commenting on the duel between Vieira and Keane, but this is a football match, not a street fight,'' Henry said. "It's two defensive midfielders going up against one another.'' In February, Keane and Vieira had to be separated by the referee in the tunnel before Manchester United's 4-2 win over Arsenal at Highbury. The United captain accused the Frenchman of trying to intimidate Gary Neville as the players left the locker rooms. Tough-guy reputation Henry says Keane's tough-guy reputation detracts from his other qualities. "People often talk of Roy Keane as if he were a thug. Hey guys, he can play football,'' Henry added. "Yes he is tenacious. Yes he is aggressive. Yes if the ball is 50-50, he will send you up in the air. But he is a superb footballer.'' Meanwhile, Ireland coach Brian Kerr rejected suggestions he confronted Keane over newspaper speculation that other Irish players had frequented night clubs during the buildup to the game. "There is absolutely no truth whatsoever that I had a bust-up with Roy or, indeed, any of the other players,'' Kerr said. Kerr said he discussed the report with Keane. Whatever happens between Keane and Vieira, Henry is expecting a bruising encounter at Lansdowne Road. Both sides have 13 points in Group 4 and the winner of Wednesday's match will take a huge step forward in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. (AP)

Topics : Football Real Madrid France Arsenal
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