'In my career I've been a good role model', says Keown

Martin Keown turned from defending his goal to defending his honour after Arsenal's scoreless draw with Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions' League Group B last night.

The 37-year-old has borne the brunt of the criticism of Arsenal's behaviour in the recent Premiership match against Manchester United at Old Trafford following his barging and taunting of the striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. He has also been charged by the Football Association with both violent behaviour and improper conduct.

Keown, whose form and self-discipline have been excellent since the charges were laid, said: "My football is very important to me, and that was a very unfortunate situation, but I don't really think I hurt anyone up there at Old Trafford.

"At this club we have a big responsibility to do things the right way. We became a little intoxicated in those few moments at Old Trafford and we've been hammered since.

"I feel I live my life on and off the field in a proper way," he added. "You can look and see what I do off the field and you won't find anything.

"Generally I do my job on the pitch to a high standard. Generally in my career I've been a good role model for younger players, and what happened at Old Trafford was not brilliant but I think my record is there for everyone to see."

Keown's record, incidentally, includes six red cards in seven years under Arsène Wenger's management plus two disrepute charges following clashes with opponents in the last two seasons.

He is also likely to receive a four-match ban for his behaviour at Old Trafford. However, given the fact that he is an uncompromising central defender, some offences are inevitable and his off-field behaviour has been exemplary.

"He has responded very well to the criticism he has received," Wenger said. "I like the way he is concentrated on his defending. He teaches a lot to Touré and has been fantastic in the last two games and at Old Trafford."

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