Keane proclaims midfield superiority

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The Independent Football

Roy Keane, the Manchester United captain, believes he is still more than a match for any midfielder in the Premiership.

The Republic of Ireland international, with United on their United States tour, has been troubled by injuries in recent seasons but still feels he is a better player than Liverpool's talisman Steven Gerrard - and he also questioned whether Patrick Vieira could produce the goods when it really counts.

"I ask the same question of myself every morning: 'Have I got something to offer Manchester United?' At this moment in time the answer is always yes," Keane said. "Without a doubt I feel I can compete with players like Gerrard and Vieira. When I feel I can't do that then I'll know.

"The manager was very complimentary about Gerrard and there's no doubt he is a very good player - but I still feel I am better than him and that's not being big-headed. You look at Gerrard last season and he didn't kick a ball for the first three-and-a-half months.

"Then you look at Vieira. I always ask questions of people in certain big games and I just look at when Arsenal played against Chelsea in the Champions' League. In the second half of that match at Highbury a lot of their players weren't there to be seen."

Keane also said he believes United have now got the right mix of old and young players, following the news that Gary and Phil Neville have both signed new five-year deals.

"Over the last few seasons we've brought in four or five young players. I think it's important to get the balance right and we've got a good balance in the club now," Keane said. "Phil and Gary have been great servants and hopefully they will be around for a few more years."