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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 23 July, 2014

Roy Keane: Lots to consider after ‘mad’ first two weeks back with Ireland

The Ireland management team will head home with plenty to ponder… like possible Granny Rule recruits.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane.
Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

AFTER A WIN and a draw in their first two games at the helm, Roy Keane says he and Ireland boss Martin O’Neill will sit down in the coming weeks to take stock.

And the Corkman agrees the topic of recruiting Irish qualified players will be on the agenda.

“That’s something for Martin obviously to look at,” he told Setanta Ireland last night ahead of the solid score-draw in Poznan.

“It’s whatever Martin feels is right for Ireland. I know what you’re saying, you’ve got to get the balance right. You can’t be almost begging players to come and play for Ireland but if there’s players eligible, then we’ll have a look at it. But again they’re areas we’re going to look at over the next couple of months.

“It’s been a mad couple of weeks, we’ll have a chance to sit down. You mentioned passion; I’d like to think any guy or girl who’s playing sport will have passion and if we get anyone involved with Ireland they’ll have to put their bodies on the line. That’s what it’s all about. So yeah, no doubt, it’s going to be a busy few months because I think sometimes people look at international football — whether it be the manager or the assistant — as some kind of part time role. Far from it. We’re here and we’re fully committed to it.

“We know what’s at stake, we know the demands that are going to be there and as I said, Martin knows I’m here to assist him and do whatever I can to to help get good results.”

The former Manchester United skipper continued:  ”We’ve got lots to talk about. Martin and myself seem to think along the same line; that doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreements or conflicts.

“I know I’m here to assist Martin. Martin’s the manager and he’ll make all them big decisions. But I’d like to think he brought me on board because he respects my knowledge of the game — however big or small that may be — so there will be boundaries.

“I’ve got to find out over the next few months and I suppose there’ll be a bit of trial and error but no, there’ll be an opportunity for us to step back a little bit. Because it has been a bit hectic since we got the job.”

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Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane. Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Keane will return to the north-west of England with plenty to ponder, but he insists he’s enjoyed the experience of his first weeks back in the Ireland set-up.

“In terms of the role I’ve got here, again I had to weigh up the options — did I fancy it, did I want to go back with Ireland? And it was the perfect fit, a job I couldn’t turn down and I’m delighted to be involved again and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“So in terms of over analysing it, the past and why I’ve took the job… obviously I’ve come back to work with Martin, the staff and the players, win some football matches and make the people of Ireland happy. If you look at the job in hand, it just felt right. As I said obviously coming back to get involved with Ireland, it’s been a great buzz for me I have to say.

“I know I probably don’t show it on my face but it’s been great, honestly. It’s been really good to get back involved. It’s great for me to get that opportunity, I appreciate it.

“There’s some good players there. I know there’s been a lot of negativity over the past few years — of course, there always is if you don’t qualify for a tournament and everyone looks at the negatives and everyone’s criticised — but we’re just looking at the positives. And we’ve got some good players coming through, we’ve got new ideas obviously, we’re going to be a different voice for the players , we hope there’s going to be good days ahead.

“But as I said earlier, it;s going to be difficult, wining football matches is hard but we’re certainly going to go out and try to entertain the supporters and basically get them off their seats but also understand there’s got to be some sort of structure.

“We mentioned Trapattoni earlier, who did a very, very good job. But obviously the nature of the game, managers come and go. We just have to make sure that when myself and Martin leave people look back and say ‘listen they done really well’.”

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