Roy Keane: ‘I don’t lose any sleep at missing 2002 World Cup finals’

IPSWICH TOWN: On the eve of the 2010 World Cup, Blues manager Roy Keane has revealed that he hopes he’s played his part in Republic of Ireland football being taken seriously.

The Blues manager famously walked out on the Irish squad while they were at a training camp just before the 2002 finals in Japan and South Korea.

He says that he has no regrets about his actions and that it was the culmination of many years of frustration with his national side.

“Missing out on the 2002 World Cup finals does not lose me any sleep,” said Keane.

“I enjoyed helping Ireland qualify, and the madness of it all is that people still don’t know the full story. There are as usual plenty of second guesses.

“There was a view within the Irish camp that just because we had qualified we had done enough. But that did not sit with me.

“With a good manager whose brought a professional attitude and a new stadium about to open my hope is that Irish football will be now taken seriously.

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“There has been an improvement, but there is a lot more to be done.”

Reflecting on his walk-out eight years ago, Keane told Ipswich Player: “It goes back to when I was a teenager and went to France and then Spain with the Republic of Ireland youth sides and did not get a run out when every youngster did.

“From day one I appeared to be up against it – and that feeling stayed to 2002.

“We had pot holes on our training pitch and the assumption was that ‘We’re only Ireland we don’t deserve top pitches to train on.’

“This was borne out of a low self esteem, and would not have been accepted by other countries.

“Our fans had made a massive commitment to sell cars and televisions so that they could travel to support us, and the attitude of those in charge was not the same as mine.”

Keane admits that he was part of the Irish ‘failings’ in the 1994 World Cup where the finals were held in the USA.

He went on: “It’s the mentality of Irish sport – win or lose hit the booze.

“I was as guilty as anyone in 1994 when the players drank as much as the fans.”

After being told that he was too short and then failing to be picked up by a professional club until he was 19, Keane says that he will always look at bringing 18 or 19-year-olds into the game.

“I went to Nottingham Forest and they looked after me very well and it was a perfect city to be based in,” said Keane.

“And Manchester United was great as well.

“It is a case of never giving up and that’s why I always show interest in on-league players in their teens.”

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