Former Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane has cleared the air with Jon Walters
- Credit: Archant
Roy Keane insists he has cleared the air with Jon Walters after he was reunited with the midfielder at international level.
Keane fell out spectacularly with the Walters when the pair were at Ipswich Town, the latter sold to Stoke not long after the player had missed a League Cup match at Exeter due to illness.
Keane yesterday gave his first press conference since it was announced that he would be acting as assistant manager to new Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill.
“Jon Walters did very well for me, very well for me,” said Keane. “I’m disappointed with the way it ended but any time a player wants to leave a club it’s not going to be a pals’ act.
“When someone is desperate to leave your football club and you’re desperate for him to stay... That’s only natural.
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“I’ve been with Jon the last day or two and that’s all been sorted out.”
Reflecting on his turbulent 20 months at Portman Road, Keane said: “At Ipswich, it could have gone better. Even there, there were pluses. We had a lot of young players, we got to a Cup semi-final.
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“I felt clubs should have given me another opportunity to get back into football after that. I’ve had two opportunities, one was working abroad (Turkey), the other was an international job (Iceland), which didn’t work out.
“My experience at Ipswich will stand me in good stead when I go back into being a manager or even more so now I’m an assistant, understanding the pressure that Martin will be under, the demands he’s got.”
Meanwhile, Keane insisted he is not the combustible character many make him out to be.
The 42-year-old – who infamously fell out with now Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy ahead of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea – admitted he might have to rein himself in at times.
But when asked about O’Neill’s determination to allow him to be his own man, he said: “There’s nothing to tame. I’m not some sort of animal, you know what I mean?
“I’m a footballing man, I like to work hard and push people, and sometimes I suppose I have got that slightly wrong on one or two occasions over the years.
“But generally speaking, I look back and I think I have got a lot of it right.
“Yes, there are areas I need to look at, particularly as now I’m the assistant, when to step back, and hopefully I get that right as well.
“But I am also there to push the players and put demands on the players, like we did today in training.
“We have got some good players and sometimes the players themselves are the last to realise how good they are.
“We have got some really good young players and we have got to push them and put demands on them because from my own experience, I used to like that. I used to like people pushing me.
“That’s the name of the game from when you’re a kid. My manager from when I was a kid used to say ‘come on, you can do better’. I loved it, it was great.
“But obviously, there’s a way of speaking to people, I understand that, there’s a way of getting that message across and how you put the demands on them.”