Leeds United could have saved themselves from Premier League relegation had they brought in Sam Allardyce and his coaching team sooner.
That is the message from Robbie Keane, who arrived alongside Big Sam on May 3, with just four games remaining. Leeds were ultimately relegated in 19th position, after failing to win any of their remaining tricky fixtures against the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.
"My time at Leeds was very enjoyable, in terms of the experience and being back at my old club," Keane told Betway ahead of this Saturday's Champions League final. "There are really good people there, good staff. It’s a club that’s got a great history.
"Unfortunately, we probably came in a little bit too late. It would have been nice if we’d have got in there earlier, I think it would have been a lot different. The experience was great, apart from the results, but we knew we were going to be up against it with the teams we were playing."
Keane was especially pleased to work alongside Allardyce, with whom he hadn't previously worked as a coach. "It was great to work with Sam, with the experience that he has, to just learn how he is with players and with staff – he’s got a really good way about him and you can see why he’s been very successful," says the Irishman.
"You can only learn from these managers who have got the experience he’s got, who can do what he has done over the years in these situations.
"He’d probably admit himself that we came in too late, and if the timing was a little bit earlier, I think we could have made a huge difference."
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Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.