Wednesday 18 January 2017

'I was joking' - Roy Keane rows back on scathing criticism of Irish players

Published 02/06/2016 | 07:55

1 June 2016; Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cork. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
1 June 2016; Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cork. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane has claimed he was being facetious with some of the remarks he made to the media following his side's 2-1 defeat to Belarus on Tuesday night.

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Everton winger Aiden McGeady came in for particular criticism, with Keane stating that the Glaswegian "can do a lot better but maybe that's the story of Aiden's career."

He also singled out Daryl Murphy and Jeff Hendrick, claiming they needed to up their speed in games.

"The two players you've mentioned have got to up the ante. Sometimes we fall into it and make excuses for players that they've not played football.

"They're still training, they still have to control the ball and run. You can forgive match sharpness but you've got to get yourself in good shape and prepare properly. You're playing international football. Control the bloody ball. Pass it and move to your mates. And if you lose it, run back like you care."

"It was a good reality check for everyone last night, that's what football does to you. A reality check for one or two who thought they were good players."

Speaking at the Bon Voyage to the Boys in Green Event with Today FM at the Cork Opera House, Keane clarified his comments.

"I said a few things in the media... I was joking with some of the stuff I said. Believe it or not, it was tongue-in-cheek," he said.

"Sometimes it's nice to have a little set-back to remind you of the hard work we have ahead. When you look at the group we're in, it's going to be very difficult.

"We have quality, spirit, good experience and I enjoyed listening to the players there, the passion they have, the belief but it's easier said than done, it's easy sitting here making promises about how well we're going to do but we have to go out and do it."

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