American sports comedy-drama television series Ted Lasso tells the story of an American college football coach who is hired by an English team called AFC Richmond.
The series garnered immense critical acclaim and went on to become the most nominated freshman comedy in Emmy award history.
The titular character Lasso is played by Jason Sudeikis, while AFC Richmond captain is Roy Kent, portrayed by Brett Goldstein, who is in the twilight of his career and is a box-to-box midfielder.
Aggressive and known for his sharp temper, Kent bears striking resemblances to former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane, but is the Irishman really the template? GOAL takes a look...
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Is Ted Lasso character Roy Kent based on Roy Keane?
The Roy Kent character in Ted Lasso is heavily inspired by the real-life superstar Roy Keane. In the show, Kent is well respected by his teammates and after a glittering career, where he won the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea, he is currently in his last lap and has hence joined AFC Richmond.
Like Keane, who wore the armband at Manchester United, Kent is also the captain of his team. They are almost identical in their build and play at the centre of the park.
Brendan Hunt, a co-creator of the show, revealed that Keane's clash with Mick McCarthy, which resulted in his ejection from the Ireland squad ahead of the 2002 World Cup, was prominent in the thinking behind Kent's character dynamics.
"When we were getting into football, (it) was the peak era of Manchester United…that butted up against the Roy Keane soap opera of the 2002 World Cup. And though I was not a Man United fan, and I'm still not, I just was fascinated by Roy Keane," Hunt said while on Irish radio network Spin 103.8.
"When we're putting this together as a show we said, ‘We know that Ted's nice, what is an existing football archetype that he would have to deal with?’ And we could think of no greater obstacle than human bummer Roy Keane in his midst."
How did the name Roy Kent come up?
At the pre-production stage, Roy Kent was just a placeholder name for the character. With time, however, the name stuck.
"We got closer and closer to shooting it and I’m like, ‘Guys, he's still named Roy Kent, we're not going to keep his name Roy Kent, right? We're going to change it.’ And they’re like, 'Why would we change it? Roy Kent is great," revealed Hunt.
Just like Keane, Kent takes up football coaching after hanging up his boots as he returns as an assistant manager to Lasso at Richmond.
Similarly, Keane also took up the job of an assistant manager of the Irish national team in 2013 and later in the same capacity at Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. Moreover, both the characters also had a stint as a football pundit after retirement.
What has Roy Keane said?
Interestingly, Keane himself has dismissed the comparison. In March 2023, ahead of the release of season three, Sky Sports presenter Kelly Cates asked if Keane, Gary Neville or Graeme Souness saw the resemblance.
The Irishman replied: "To me? You're joking. I'm a lot nicer than him - you know that. Tell the truth."
Souness said: "I've not watched it, but I will now!"