Don’t blame Roy Keane – Mick McCarthy jumps to the defence of his former foe over Jordan Rhodes’ sale

Roy Keane

Roy Keane - Credit: Archant

THEY may have had one of football’s most infamous bust-ups, but Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has leapt to the defence of predecessor Roy Keane over the sale of Jordan Rhodes, insisting – ‘there was more to it than met the eye’.

The former Kesgrave High School pupil faces his boyhood club for the first time today as the Blues play Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

He will always been seen as the ‘one that got away’, following his incredible progress since Keane sold the untried youngster – after just 10 substitute appearances – to Huddersfield Town for £750,000 in the summer of 2011.

Bought by Blackburn for £8m last summer, the 23-year-old has scored 106 league and cup goals, as well as three for Scotland, in the three-and-a-half years that have passed since his controversial departure from Suffolk.

There is certainly no love lost between McCarthy and Keane following their much-publicised spat as Republic of Ireland manager and skipper respectively at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

However, McCarthy – delivering a cryptic message – believes Keane shouldn’t bear the brunt of fans’ frustrations.

“It would be easy for me to join in, with the benefit of hindsight, and say the club was wrong to let him go,” said the Blues boss.

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“From what I gather there was a move set-up for him, not really from the management.

“He wasn’t getting a game, Connor Wickham came on the scene and the move was set up.

“Roy Keane was here and I don’t know how many times he saw him play. I don’t know the circumstances.

“It’s always the same. When someone leaves a club and does well, everyone wants to point the finger at the bloke who got shot of him. I’m not going to join in because there will be more to it than meets the eye, believe me.”

McCarthy, whose side will also come up against recent loanees DJ Campbell and Bradley Orr today, added: “I don’t really know Jordan – I know his old man Andy (former Town goalkeeping coach) better because we played together at Barnsley.

“He’s got a remarkable goalscoring record and the goals he got against Bristol City last weekend were two really top-class finishes from a goalscoring machine.

“Someone said to me recently ‘Blackburn got that right signing Jordan Rhodes’ and I said ‘well they did pay eight million quid and give him bundles of money a week’.

“He’s one of the best in the Championship – but for that kind of money you expect a player to do it in the Premier League.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson and @ChrissBramms on Twitter for live match updates from Ewood Park.