independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Keane lays out managerial criteria

Robbie Keane knows the kind of person he wants to take over as Ireland boss

Robbie Keane has called for Ireland to appoint a no-nonsense manager to help revive the nation's fortunes.

Ireland will complete their World Cup qualifying campaign against Kazakhstan in Dublin on Tuesday evening knowing they have no chance of making it to Brazil next summer and with interim boss Noel King at the helm following the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni last month.

They will return to competitive action next September as they embark upon their bid to reach the finals of Euro 2016 with a new manager in place, with the Football Association of Ireland currently scouring the field for a replacement for the 74-year-old Italian.

Martin O'Neill, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane figure prominently on the list of potential candidates, but Robbie Keane has very definite ideas about the qualities required to make a success of the job.

The 33-year-old Ireland captain said: "I want someone who is an honest manager who doesn't mess around, understands how important it is to be involved in international level, someone who is very, very proud to be a manager and be proud of what we are trying to achieve in Ireland.

"Someone who is honest and someone who has b**** and doesn't take any s*** from anyone."

The LA Galaxy frontman, who is in line to win his 130th senior cap against the Kazakhs, played under McCarthy and alongside Roy Keane for his country and knows their merits well.

He is also aware of what O'Neill would bring to the party, and would have no qualms over any of the trio if they were appointed.

Keane said: "The names I have heard being mentioned, if any of them took over, I think everybody would be fairly happy. It could be any of those - I don't know the answer to that.

"I think it's important whoever takes over it's a fresh start for everybody, the whole country gets behind them and we wish them well whoever that may be."

The FAI, aided by the financial backing of businessman Denis O'Brien, invested heavily in a coach of international renown when they appointed Trapattoni, although his withering assessment of the country's domestic football and his refusal to adopt a more expansive game did not go down well with his critics.

But asked if the next manager should be Irish, Keane said: "As long as it's the right man, it doesn't matter. But of course, I think everybody at this stage now probably would want an Irish manager.

"I think it's probably clear and obvious to see that. It's looking likely that it probably will be, it seems that way, anyway - that's not me with inside information."

McCarthy, of course, guided Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and Korea, where his bust-up with the elder Keane in Saipan resulted in the then captain heading home.

However, the man who currently wears the armband insists he would have no problem with McCarthy's return.

Keane said: "Mick is a great guy, a fantastic guy. Everything we have referenced, he comes into that mould. If it was Mick, if it was Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane, I don't think you could go wrong with any of them, to be honest with you."

High performance director Ruud Dokter and former international Ray Houghton have been charged with the task of finding the right man, and have already spoken to a series of prospective candidates.

But Keane has indicated that the current crop of players too would be only to happy to have some input if they were asked.

He said: "Listen, you are not going to get anywhere in life if you don't ask people their opinion and ask whatever you want to call them, experts or people who played.

"There's no harm in asking people and asking their opinion on things because you are only going to learn things and open your eyes to certain different things.

"If anybody wants to ask any of the lads questions, I am sure they will be very open to listening to what people have to say and certainly give their opinion on what they feel.

"But ultimately, the decision is down to the FAI. It's their heads on the chopping block, if you like, if they don't feel like they are making the right decision."

Whoever Trapattoni's replacement proves to be, Keane will be available for selection with few thoughts of bringing his playing days to a close yet.

The Dubliner, who has a national record 60 international goals to his name, said: "I will continue to play as long as I feel healthy."

But asked if he could see himself as Ireland manager one day, he replied: "Certainly not at the moment.

"I still have, hopefully, a long way to go playing, but certainly in the future, if I take my coaching badges, which I will be doing.

"But I'm sure that wouldn't be for a long, long time - if I got the opportunity."

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