Jonathan Walters hits back at Roy Keane: 'There's a difference between being a hard man on the pitch and being a tough guy'

Jonathan Walters playing for Ireland
Jonathan Walters and Roy Keane's rwo has escalated further  Credit: Getty Images

Jonathan Walters has fired back in his increasingly volatile dispute with Roy Keane insisting the former Manchester United captain is just a bully who is scared of him.

Walters has had two angry confrontations with Keane, first when he was his manager at Ipswich Town and the second last year when he was assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland.

Keane ridiculed Walters in an appearance in Dublin last week, both as a player and a man, even choosing to attack him for talking about a traumatic year for his family on television, which had included the death of his brother.

Predictably, Walters, who is forging a successful media career of how own since retiring as a player, has hit back and even claimed Keane is scared of him after he challenged him to a fight during their time at Ipswich.

“What he went into, the stuff about crying on TV, I think that was something that I never expected," Walters said on Joe's Liquid Football show.

"I'll tell you one thing about the man - he doesn't get to me one bit. I'm possibly the only one that stood up to him, more than once. I think that's what bothers him most maybe.

Roy Keane worked with Walters as Martin O'Neill's assistant with Ireland Credit: PA

“I really don't know why people pay attention. Why they get that worried by Roy. Because, yes, he was a good player - an unbelievable player - known as a hard man on the pitch.

"But there's a difference between being a hard man on the pitch and being a tough guy. Just because someone has a sharp tongue or a stare, doesn't make them a tough guy.

"My brother-in-law was a Marine commando, went to war, he's a tough guy. They're the people you say are tough guys, not Roy. So that's why I was never scared as a player.”

Walters went on to give a detailed account of an incident in Keane’s office at Ipswich which had seen them come close to blows after the striker had demanded to leave the club.

At the end of the argument, Walters had offered to go to Keane’s house for a fight, off work premises and claimed he “got inside his head.” Walters was fined two weeks wages by Ipswich for threatening to physical assault Keane and left for Stoke days later.

The pair also had to be separated on international duty when Keane accused Walters and Cardiff City midfielder Harry Arter of feigning injury to avoid training.