Saturday 22 October 2016

'I love what I'm doing - Roy Keane on his Ireland role and relationship with Martin O'Neill

Steven Beacom

Published 05/02/2016 | 09:52

Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill embrace after securing qualification to Euro 2016
Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill embrace after securing qualification to Euro 2016

Roy Keane has revealed how lucky he feels to be working with Martin O'Neill for the Republic of Ireland.

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Speaking at a charity function in Armagh last night, the Manchester United legend charmed a large crowd with humour, fascinating stories and honesty and gave an insight into his relationship with former Northern Ireland skipper O'Neill.

When O'Neill was appointed Republic boss in 2013 he approached Keane to be his assistant. To some it was a surprise but for Keane it has proved to be a joy that will take them to the Euro 2016 finals in France.

"I feel very lucky to be working with Martin," said Keane, at a function organised by former Northern Ireland and Manchester United defender Pat McGibbon to raise money and awareness for his home town Lurgan-based Train To Be Smart (TTBS) charity, helping young people.

Roy Keane added for the Armagh audience: ”I love what I am doing now and enjoy working with Martin and the players. I do not take it for granted that I’m working with good people like Martin.

“After Martin became Ireland manager he phoned me up and and asked me about joining him. I had worked with Martin as a pundit for ITV and enjoyed his company.

“There are strong connections with me and Martin. We worked with Brian Clough when we were players at Nottingham Forest, we have connections with Celtic and Sunderland and we both like American football.

“We get on really well together and you can’t  put a price on that. It is massive to me.”

Keane admitted that it will be tough for the Republic at Euro 2016 with the them drawn in the same group as Italy, Belgium and Sweden.

He added that Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland are also in for a testing time in France against world champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine.

“Like us they are in a tough group, but they will go there with spirit and momentum and it looks like the players  are right behind the manager,” said Keane.

On Manchester United and the recent criticism of boss Louis van Gaal, Keane urged fans of the club to get behind the team for the remainder of the season.

Interviewed by local football commentator Liam Beckett, Keane said he could not believe how  true United fans could boo their own team, as has been the case during recent games at Old Trafford, notably the recent loss to Southampton.

Belfast Telegraph

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