Picture the scene, World Cup 2026 and Ireland somehow find themselves in the last four.

A few massive strokes of good fortune in the group stages, a kind draw and a refereeing howler have all benefitted the Boys in Green and here they are.

With Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane having passed the management reins on to the John Caulfield-Stephen Kenny dream team, Keano is now a pundit on the RTÉ panel.

As the rest of the country loses its mind and Darragh Maloney struggles to keep a lid on the enthusiasm of Richie Sadlier, Keith Andrews and a venerable Eamon Dunphy, Roy sits impassively, occasionally rolling his eyes at their enthusiasm.

Ireland are 90 minutes away from a first ever World Cup final – a remarkable achievement, but one inspired by the success of little Croatia eight years earlier – and all that stands in their way is 90 minutes against Mexico playing at home in the Azteca Stadium.

And yet Keane is curiously unmoved. He doesn’t do enthusiasm.

He does animated and excited for sure – we’ve all seen him throw the toys out of the pram, eyes bulging and that vein on his temple popping, just like in his days calling the shots in Manchester United’s midfield.

But enthusiasm? No.

Keane has flip-flopped on plenty of issues in the past. For a start, he said he’d never take the soup and become a television pundit once he finished playing and yet here he is behind the desk.

But something he has been unwavering in is his utterly pragmatic approach to the game, which made his performance on ITV on Wednesday night as predictable as it was enjoyable.

While Gary Neville, Lee Dixon and, in particular, Ian Wright got into the party mood and predicted an England win in their semi-final against Croatia – heart over head – the former Ireland skipper rolled his eyes.

He may be a fan of football, but he’ll never be a football fan. For Keane, the game is about doing the right thing all the time. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail and all of that.

He can’t understand how anyone, least of all a former pro, would get excited about the prospect of a World Cup final before the semi-final had even kicked off.

After the game a clearly heartbroken Wright poked the bear: "You weren’t happy for us being happy."

Keane snapped back: "I didn’t mind you being happy but you were getting carried away. You were planning the final, where the parades were, you need a reality check – you’re a grown man."

Wrighty had made a mistake – he’d let his enthusiasm get the better of him. He wasn’t doing the right thing and this went against Keane’s unswerving beliefs.

So just imagine how scathing he’s going to be when Ireland beat Mexico to reach wonderland in the form of a World Cup final, but skipper Declan Rice nearly costs his team when he failed to attack that late cross...

Some might misinterpret Keane's row with Wrighty as part of an anti-English agenda but that is to misunderstand Roy Keane.

The Corkman would be as dismissive of an Irish pundit/fan/journalist getting excited at the prospect of a World Cup final.

The Cheshire resident is not anti-English, he is just virulently opposed to losing the run of yourself. He was not overly concerned with the children of Ireland in 2002, not when weighed up against the foreign idea of preparing inadequately for the world's biggest football tournament.

Keane spent a playing career squeezing the last drop of potential from himself and cannot change his credo now - not for the Ipswich squad, not for the Sunderland board and certainly not for the ITV panel.

Only the ones you love can truly hurt you and Keane seems to be constantly wounded by football or those connected to it.

He will always be a fan of football, but never a football fan.