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Sunderland manager Roy Keane has launched a scathing attack on “weak and soft” players who pay too much attention toi the wishes of their wives and girlfriends.

Keane said some players were not interested in playing for clubs outside the English capital.

“Priorities have changed for footballers and they are being dictated to by their wives and girlfriends,” Keane claimed.

“I find it surprising that geography seems to play such a big part or that players let their wives decide,” the Irishman said.

“I think it’s weak. You see it with a couple of big players now. Clearly their wives and girlfriends are running their lives and that’s a bad sign. I realise it is part of the package and more so when there are children and schools involved, but ultimately you’re a footballer.

“Retire at 35 or 36, you can live wherever you bloody well like – London, Monaco, wherever – and any half-decent footballer will be a multi-millionaire anyway.

“Why is there such a big attraction with London? It would be different if it was Chelsea, Arsenal or maybe Tottenham, but when they go to a smaller club just because it’s in London, then it’s clearly because of the shops.”

Keane admitted his club had missed out on signing a player because his wife wanted to move to London.

“Their priorities are not the same as mine. We will do the best for our players’ families, but we’ve had a player this summer who didn’t even ring us back because his wife wanted to move to London. And shopping was mentioned. It might astonish many people, but it’s true,” he said.

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