Roy Keane believes the brilliance and unselfishness of striking quartet Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Dwight Yorke made Manchester United “really lucky” to have them.
Reflecting on United’s treble success in 1999 and the three consecutive Premier League titles secured up to 2001, Keane and former team-mate Gary Neville hailed the club’s strikeforce.
Current manager Solskjaer and Sheringham, who both scored in the Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, were integral rotation pieces who complemented the famed Yorke and Cole partnership.
Keane felt the personalities of that group were crucial in making it work at a time when, despite their quality, none of the four players were starting every week.
“We were really lucky with the four strikers we had at that time, Yorkie, Coley, Ole and Teddy – brilliant players,” Keane said to Sky Sports.
“I always try make the point to remind people they were very good lads in the dressing room. People talk about strikers being selfish, they have to be, but I found all of these lads to be decent lads.
“They looked at the bigger picture, they had to bide their time as the manager rotated the squad.
“We were one of the first to rotate the squad throughout the competitions. The players made it work, they were professionals and when they got the opportunity they went out and did the business.”
Asked who the best combination was, Keane added: “I don’t like these conversations, I really don’t, it’s really unfair.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 21, 2014
Neville, meanwhile, felt the partnership between Yorke and Cole could not have been replicated by other world-class strikers.
He said: “The thing about that partnership is that neither minded who scored.
“That is something you wouldn’t have seen with partnerships involving Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen, who had to score to be happy.
“Yorke and Cole didn’t hit it off from the start, it took 10 to 15 games from memory.
“Leicester away sticks in my mind, something just happened that day and after that they started socialising together, getting on off the pitch and a respect between each other developed.
“We knew Yorke was a good player from Aston Villa, but I don’t think anybody realised how good a player he was, he surprised us when he came into the team.”
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