We ‘appointed’ Roy Keane as Manchester United manager and achieved great long-term results


Roy Keane is reportedly nearing a return to management, with the former Manchester United midfielder linked with Sunderland.

According to a Telegraph report, United legend Keane has an offer on the table from Sunderland to become their new manager. Former Black Cats manager Lee Johnson was sacked on Sunday following their 6-0 loss to Bolton Wanderers, despite sitting third in the League One table and just five points behind first-place Rotherham.

If he were to take charge of the Stadium of Light, it would be Keane’s second spell as manager at Sunderland, having been in charge of the club between 2006 and 2008, where he helped the club achieve promotion to the Premier League in his first season.

But this got us thinking, how good is Keane as a manager? And how successful could he be as manager of Manchester United?

To find out, we ‘appointed’ Keane as United’s new manager in Football Manager 2022 to see how the Irish manager would fare.

Roy Keane as mock Manchester United manager

To set up this simulation, we simulated the 2021/22 season until mid-November with United on 17 points after 12 games, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was finally sacked.

We then named Roy Keane as United’s new boss and ran an ongoing simulation to see how Keane’s managerial spell would work out at Old Trafford.

We then named Roy Keane as United's new boss and ran an ongoing simulation to see how Keane's managerial spell would work out at Old Trafford.
We then named Roy Keane as United’s new boss and ran an ongoing simulation to see how Keane’s managerial spell would work out at Old Trafford.

These are the results, and they are really impressive.

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Keane’s first change? Moving on to a standard swamp 4-4-2, with two fast wingers and two centre-forwards, with Marcus Rashford on the left and Jadon Sancho on the right.

Following the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign, this is what Keane’s best-performing XI looked like.

United best XI under Keane in 2021/22: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford; Ronaldo, Cavani.

United's best XI under Keane in 2021/22: De Gea;  Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw;  Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford;  Ronaldo, Cavani.
United’s best XI under Keane in 2021/22: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford; Ronaldo, Cavani.

Up front, Keane rotated players like Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood.

In midfield, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes played most games as midfield two, with Fred completely frozen.

And it worked.

Keane’s best results included a 3–0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a 2–1 win at Anfield against Liverpool and a 2–1 home win against Chelsea.

Under Solskjaer, United won five of their first 12 games, losing five, drawing two and winning four times. But under Keane, United would only lose once in the next 26 games, winning 22 times and drawing just four times.

United’s impressive form under Keane saw them, against all odds, win their first Premier League title since 2012/13, with the Reds winning 84 points from 38 games, two points ahead of Man City and three points behind. ahead of Liverpool, in what was a three-way title race.

United's impressive form under Keane saw them, against all odds, win their first Premier League title since 2012/13.
United’s impressive form under Keane saw them, against all odds, win their first Premier League title since 2012/13.

Chelsea’s good form earlier in the season slipped badly, but Arsenal’s performance improved dramatically, with Mikel Arteta’s side securing a top-four finish.

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In cup competitions, Keane’s side did nothing spectacular, emerging from the Champions League group stage only to lose to Barcelona in the first knockout round, while United reached the FA Cup semi-final. only to lose to Man City.

But despite this, it would have to be said that Keane’s first season in charge of the club, after replacing Solskjaer in November, was a magnificent achievement.

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has addressed the Reds' Old Trafford woes.
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has addressed the Reds’ Old Trafford woes.

And it was just the beginning: Keane went on to manage United for a further TWELVE years in our FM22 simulation.

Under Keane’s stewardship, United won 12 trophies in 12 years, winning the Premier League three times, in 2021/22, 2024/25 and 2029/30.

He would go on to manage United for 688 matches in all competitions, with Keane winning 449 of them for a win rate of 65%.

Under Keane's stewardship, United won 12 trophies in 12 years, winning the Premier League three times, in 2021/22, 2024/25 and 2029/30.
Under Keane’s stewardship, United won 12 trophies in 12 years, winning the Premier League three times, in 2021/22, 2024/25 and 2029/30.

Keane’s United also won three Carabao Cups (2022/23, 2023/24, 2025/26), three Community Shields (2024/25, 2025/26, 2028/29), one FA Cup (2028/29) and one Europa League title (2027/28).

Keane’s reign as United manager spanned from November 2021 to November 2033, with Keane’s lowest Premier League finishing position being third in 2023/24 and 2025/26, followed by two consecutive fourth-place finishes in 2031. /32 and 2032/33, which led to his dismissal in November 2033.

United spent a staggering £1.735bn on Keane from 2021 to 2033, with Keane’s most expensive signing and most expensive sale being by the same player.

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United spent a staggering £1.735bn on Keane from 2021 to 2033, with Keane's most expensive signing and most expensive sale being by the same player.
United spent a staggering £1.735bn on Keane from 2021 to 2033, with Keane’s most expensive signing and most expensive sale being by the same player.

The Reds spent £84m on Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch in the summer of 2024, only to sell the Dutchman to Barcelona for £119m in July 2028.

Overall, Football Manager 2022 predicts that Roy Keane remains a very competent manager and could be a great appointment for Sunderland, judging by the results of this simulation!

Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. With over 50 countries to manage and a database of over 800,000 players and staff, it offers an incredibly detailed and immersive experience.

At FM, you make all the key decisions, from signing (and selling) players to training, team selection and tactics, as you lead your team to the top of the football world while forging your own philosophy and strengthening identity. of your club.

FM has grown to become more than just a game and has become integrated into the football industry; Several clubs use the FM database to help shape their recruitment strategies and thousands of professional footballers and backroom staff members are committed fans of the game.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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