Assistant role may suit Roy Keane, say two ex-Ipswich Town players

Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill

Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane can adapt to being an assistant boss.

That’s the surprise opinion of two of his former Blues players, David Wright and Liam Trotter, after it was confirmed that Keane will act in a support role to new Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.

Keane publicly fell out with a number of players during his turbulent 20 months at Portman Road, spent big money on players that did not live up to their price tags, allowed homegrown talent such as Jordan Rhodes and Trotter to leave on the cheap and also criticised the club’s supporters.

He’ll now be working with former Town players Jon Walters and Damien Delaney again, the duo having both been outspoken critics of the ex-Manchester United midfielder in recent years.

Many are expecting fireworks from a man known for his win-at-all-costs playing style and dictatorial approach to management, but others sense that a No.2 role could suit the man from Cobh.

Colchester United midfielder Wright – controversially released by Keane in the summer of 2010 – said: “Did it surprise me that Roy has taken on a No.2 role? Yes it did, but maybe it could be a very good combination. Only time will tell.

“International management is totally different and I’m sure Roy will learn lots and lots off Martin. I’m sure he’ll become a better manager for it in the long-term.

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“One thing I took from Roy was his professionalism. Everything he did he demanded the highest standards, whether it was hotels, travel, training – he wanted to get the preparations perfect so it left his players with no excuses come match day.”

The 33-year-old, who is doing some part-time coaching at Ipswich’s academy, added: “I’d like to be a coach or manager one day and I’ll certainly take aspects of Roy’s style.”

Ipswich-born Trotter, who signed for Millwall after only being offered a one-year contract extension by Keane, said: “I personally had no problems with Roy.

“I wouldn’t say he was fearsome, but he certainly has an aura about him because of the status he had as a player.

“He’s very honest, very frank and open with his players. I always found him fair because he’d treat all the players the same. I certainly have no grudges about how my time at the club came to an end.

“Will it work, him being a No.2? I don’t see why not. Martin O’Neill wouldn’t have taken him on if he didn’t think it could work.

“It’s going to be slightly different for him to step down into an assistant role, but that could benefit him.”