Vieira ‘grabbed Arsenal player by throat’ after pretending not to speak English
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira once grabbed a senior team-mate by the throat shortly after joining Arsenal as a youngster, according to Martin Keown.
A 20-year-old Vieira moved to North London in 1996 after a disappointing spell at AC Milan during Serie A's golden era. And the Frenchman didn't take long in asserting himself as one of the dressing room leaders when he confronted a senior member of the side.
In his column for the Daily Mail, Keown said: "Patrick joined Arsenal on August 14, 1996, and when he arrived, he pretended he didn’t speak English. He signed on the same day as Remi Garde, who we knew as a tried-and-tested France international.
"But we didn’t know anything about the 20-year-old who walked in the door with him. He looked like he hadn’t filled out his frame yet, ungainly and hardly said a word to anyone.
"One day a senior player was complaining about Patrick in the changing room. All in English — under the assumption Patrick wouldn’t understand.
"Well, he did. Patrick stood up, flew across the room, grabbed him by the throat and said in perfect English: ‘Why are you f***ing talking about me behind my back?’"
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Vieira evolved into one of the Premier League's most dominant midfielders, and famously feuded with fellow hardman Roy Keane. The pair were the captains of the two most dominant sides of their era.
The Frenchman left Arsenal in 2005, with a Premier League medal, before returning to England's top flight in 2010 for a season with Manchester City.
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