Roy Keane dismisses ‘jovial, focused’ England camp at 2022 World Cup: ‘We’ll see if they’re laughing in a few weeks

Roy Keane dismissed claims of England’s team spirit by saying: “We’ll see if they’re laughing in a few weeks.”

The former Manchester United midfielder was speaking as part of the build-up ahead of England’s Friday evening game against the United States in their second group game.England’s mood is reportedly buoyant after a 6-2 opening game victory over Iran earlier in the week, but the USMNT are expected to pose a much tougher test for Gareth Southgate’s men.

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Ian Wright had played darts with three England players and told ITV that the mood was relaxed and confident.

He told ITV: “If them three guys – Kieran Trippier, Declan Rice and Kyle Walker – if their vibe is anything to go by, they are very calm, jovial, very focused. It was nice to be around, you can feel it, very together.”

England’s former right-back Gary Neville admitted that team spirit can be an illusion, there when a team is winning and quickly invisible in the aftermath of defeat, but still thought the mood of the whole squad was vital to the chances of success in Qatar for England.

“There is a little bit of that,” he admitted, ”but in a tournament when you have 26 players, you do need a good group of lads because they can bring the mood down if they’re not enjoying it. The lads not playing are just as important. Gareth has always put that at the forefront.”

Keane however was his typically-cynical self, saying he had never entertained the idea of a bad atmosphere with a team, particularly as he was sceptical that early claims of good morale at tournaments are a matter of course.

Speaking after the former England team-mates had given their positive spin on the mood in the camp, the Irishman was happy to ask his erstwhile rivals to prove their credentials on the pitch with the rest of the tournament in Qatar to go.

“They’ve had a good start, six goals,” he conceded before stating: “I’ll never come out with that nonsense – ‘There’s a bad feeling in the group.’

“They have to go and win football matches – we’ll see if they’re laughing in a few weeks!”

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To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, we have launched our new bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues.

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