Keane says goodbye to Manchester United

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Roy Keane stunned Manchester United when he announced he wanted to leave Old Trafford and play for another club next year.

The talismanic Irish midfielder made the declaration in a live phone in on the club’s own television channel MUTV.

“I would like to play another year or two but I do not think it will be at Manchester United,” the 34-year-old said.

“There comes a time for everybody when they have to move on and I am prepared to play elsewhere.

“I think it will be good to experience a different dressing room. It wouldn’t be an English team though, coming back to Old Trafford and going into the away dressing room would be too hard for me to stomach.”

The Republic of Ireland international’s contract is due to expire in the summer and it was widely assumed he would be given at least an extra year, possibly to combine playing duties with a coaching role.

But in Thursday’s interview Keane rejected any notion of moving straight onto Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff.

“I am not putting a gun to anybody’s head,” said Keane.

“But my gut reaction last season was this would be my last year and I still feel that way.

“You have to learn and be prepared to move on. Life will not stop when I leave Manchester United.

“It might be an opportunity to go into management or coaching somewhere else and it is best to make a clean break because coaching at Manchester United doesn’t really appeal.”

The Cork-born player has made no secret of his desire to follow former Red Devils’ skippers Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson into management and intends to complete his UEFA coaching badges over the next few months.

On the chances of United offering him a new deal Keane reflected: “I would be surprised if I was offered a new contract and even if I was, I would not expect it to be until the end of the season but by then I will have already made a decision about what I am going to do.”

The fiery midfielder has been the inspiration behind Ferguson’s side since he first arrived as a raw youngster from Nottingham Forest in 1993, making 480 senior appearances and playing a major role in almost all United’s successes.

Even though he missed the 1999 Champions League Final, the 3.75million pounds Ferguson spent to secure his services will probably go down as some of the best money ever spent by United.