Keane and Ferguson, who have been traditional allies over the years, clashed over accommodation arrangements for families of the players at a recent pre-season training camp in Portugal.
The row carries echoes of Keane’s bust-up with then Irish manager Mick McCarthy just prior to the 2002 world Cup. That furor was centered on Keane’s unhappiness with training facilities on the Japanese island of Saipan.
Keane initially moved his wife and five children into the complex United had hired in Portugal, but then dissatisfied with the standard of accommodation, took them back to his own villa nearby.
Keane’s decision is understood to have angered Ferguson and the two then had a heated argument in front of other players.
United later left for a tour of Asia without club captain Keane, however, a spokesman for the Irish midfielder denied flatly that he had been dropped and insisted that he had stayed in Manchester for treatment for a hamstring injury.
It is regarded as unlikely that the spat will impact on 33-year-old Keane’s position as United captain, and he and Ferguson are scheduled to clear the air when the squad returns from China later this week.