Roy Keane believes Harry Maguire’s ‘personality’ saved the defender from a red card against Chelsea following the Manchester United defender’s kick out at Michy Batshuayi.
The England international was fortunate to escape without punishment following a first-half tangle with Batshuayi at Stamford Bridge, the centre-back appearing to kick out at the Belgian in the groin as he was bundled to the floor near the touchline.
Referee Anthony Taylor thought little of the incident and Chris Stockley, the Video Assistant Referee, also agreed, with Maguire later compounding the situation scoring an emphatic header to seal a huge 2-0 victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in west London.
Former Manchester United captain Keane believes the 26-year-old was ‘lucky’ to avoid being dismissed, and believes Maguire’s ‘calm’ persona perhaps helped him in escaping punishment from the referee.
“He’s a lucky, lucky boy,” said Keane. “Maguire, maybe because it’s his personality, a calm lad, but he definitely kicks out.”
Speaking on the incident post-match Maguire said there was no intent behind the kick, admitting it was a ‘natural reaction’ to straighten his leg to prevent the Chelsea striker from falling on top of him.
“I know I caught him and I felt he was going to fall on me and my natural reaction was to straighten my leg to stop him,” Maguire told Sky Sports.
“It wasn’t a kick out and there was no intent. I think it’s the right decision. I knew I’d caught him but that I had no intent to hurt him. It was just a natural reaction. I apologised to him and it was nice that the referee saw sense.”
After hearing Maguire’s view, Keane called the defender’s justification a ‘decent excuse’, but maintained his stance that the United skipper was fortunate to avoid sanctions from referee Taylor.
“His personality helped him, he comes across as a decent guy, it’s a decent excuse, but he’s a lucky boy.”