Poll: How will ex-Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane fare with the Republic of Ireland?
- Credit: Archant
Ex-Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane was last night appointed as the new Republic of Ireland assistant manager with Martin O’Neill as expected taking the main role - but how will he fare?
The fiery Keane is widely judged as a failure at Ipswich Town, where he sold future Championship hot shot Jordan Rhodes and had several high-profile fall-outs with stars including then-captain Jon Walters a key player for the Republic of Ireland.
But prior to his Town reign, Keane lead Sunderland into the Premier League.
And Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney insisted Keane’s turbulent past is irrelevant to his return to the international stage.
Keane’s installation as Martin O’Neill’s number two at the Republic of Ireland more than a decade after he made an infamous exit from the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East, Delaney was adamant those events in Saipan have nothing to do with the future of Irish football.
Speaking on Newstalk Radio, Delaney described talks with the former Manchester United skipper last week as “absolutely brilliant” and added: “It’s years ago, there should be a line drawn in the sand in terms of Saipan and what happened. We were all younger people back then.
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“I think we all say things in different parts of our life. I’m sure you or I have said things that we regret.
“But anything that would have been said by Roy or I to each other or about each other is irrelevant, it’s irrelevant.
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“Irish football and our country is bigger than anything.”
Of the move, former Leicester, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland boss O’Neill said: “Well, I think I’m the bad cop and he’s the bad, bad cop.
“We’re excited by it. It looks like we’ve something to go with. I’m looking forward to it greatly.”
The 61-year-old, who has been out of the game since parting company with Sunderland at the end of March, was asked why he had turned to former Ireland skipper Keane in the search for a right-hand man, a move which proved something of a surprise.
He said with a smile: “I’ve asked myself that many a time over the last 48 hours.
“He’s coming with me. Personally speaking, I think he’ll be great for me, but more importantly, he’ll be great for the Republic of Ireland.”
Keane, whose reign as Ipswich manager came to an end in January 2011, fell out spectacularly with the FAI ahead of the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East and played no part in the tournament after a stand-off with then manager Mick McCarthy.
However, when he was approached by O’Neill, he responded positively, and the 42-year-old’s prospective involvement was sanctioned by the association.
Keane said: “It’s fantastic news. I’m honoured that Martin has asked me to come and help him with the team.
“I’m very excited – I might not look it, but I am. I look forward to working with the players and trying to get to the Euros.”