Date: 15th June 2006 at 1:08pm
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Lee Sharpe expects former team-mate Roy Keane to move into coaching or management to plug the ‘massive’ gap that retirement has left in his life.

Sharpe: ‘It’s now been made official that Roy Keane has retired.

‘Obviously I know him quite well because we used to play together at Man United. I suppose in one respect I’m not surprised because I know that he’s been struggling with a hip injury, and with the amount of games he’s got under his belt over the years and how physical he plays, it’s not a shock that he’s decided to call it a day.

‘But on the other hand, I know how much he loves the game and how much he loves to win and compete and I’m sure there’ll be a massive gap in his life now.

‘I don’t know what he’ll do to replace that – probably look for coaching or management at some stage.

‘He’s a strong family man – I think he’s got four kids now, so he won’t have a lot of time for himself – but it’ll be spent on them and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.

‘He probably could have carried on for another year or two, but it’s all about value of life. He’s got many, many years left to live and enjoy himself so you’ve got to make sure that your body’s able to cope.

‘He’ll want to run round the park and play games with his kids, so it’s not worth it to carry on.

‘There are players that drag it out, generally the ones that don’t get many injuries during their career, so they end up playing 60 games a season sometimes.

‘I got injured nearly every year so I only ever played 30 or 40 tops so that’s why my body’s not in bad shape physically, considering I’m 35 and retired.

‘But people like Keaney that have played full seasons, week in, week out, your joints and body take a lot of stick and you’re pushed to your limits nearly every weekend and sometimes during the week as well.

‘You’re playing in big games all the time – European games, international games, top of the table clashes, and every time you play a league team from lower down it’s a cup final for them, so it’s high tempo and it does take its toll.

‘So I’m sure it’s the right time for him to get out. The Celtic thing was always short term, a bit of a swansong, so unless some unbelievable offer comes his way during the summer, he’ll take a few months out.

‘He’ll go back to Ireland, and have a nice holiday with his missus and kids somewhere warm and away from it all before he thinks about what he wants to do, if he’s not already decided.

‘I wish him all the best in whatever he wants to do. He’s a top man, Keaney, he deserves all the luck in the world.’