Sunday 22 October 2017

'I'm pretty sure a lot of the Ireland players probably don't particularly like me' - Roy Keane won't change his ways

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane this week
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane this week
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

ROY KEANE suspects some of the Ireland players don’t like him — but the straight-talking legend insists he will not change his ways in a bid to become Mr Nice Guy.

Keane has been an outspoken sidekick for Ireland boss Martin O’Neill since November 2013 and admits he does not conform to the traditional role of an assistant who attempts to form close bonds with senior players.

"I’m pretty sure a lot of the Ireland players probably don’t particularly like me so I would keep my distance from them," confirmed Keane ahead of today’s crunch World Cup qualifier against Austria in Dublin.

"When we work, we work and when we’re off, we stay away from each other. Sometimes the key is keeping away from them."

Meanwhile, O’Neill urged his players to ‘go to war’ with Austria in the fashion Keane was famed for during his stellar playing days.

"Roy went to war every single time he played for 14 years," stated O’Neill.

"You have to be ready for a battle."

Keane used his pre-match press conference this week to deliver some stirring words about how the Ireland squad - who have been boosted by the presence of injured captain Seamus Coleman - will have to 'go to war' with the away side.

But he was also at pains to stress that Austria are worthy of serious respect, adding that Irish teams have yet to earn the right to believe any hype around their prospects.

"I've never underestimated a team in my life and we're not good enough to," said Keane.

If you've been watching Irish football for 15-20 years, we're nowhere near good enough to think we can approach an international against a team with a good record and really good players and a manager that's supposed to be under pressure (and be over-confident).

"We're in for a tough game. History will tell you that. I'm pretty sure that if I was in the Austria camp I would be going, 'Listen, let's have a go at this lot'. We can be at our best in a lot of football matches and still not get a result. So this idea that we can just roll up and go 'well...' We know that we have to be at it.

"There's talk about disarray. But if they come and win on Sunday, all of a sudden they're back and they'll probably be saying there's disarray in our camp. Disarray can happen within 24 hours, that's why you've got to keep your foot down. You have to try and keep winning.

"I go back to that rollercoaster. You're either up here or down there. At the moment we're not far off the top and we want to stay there."

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