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Keane: Missing 2002 World Cup is biggest regret of my career

Published 11/12/2013 | 23:32

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and team captain Roy Keane pictured training in Saipan in 2002
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and team captain Roy Keane pictured training in Saipan in 2002
Roy Keane at Saipan International Airport prior to his departure in 2002
Roy Keane walks the family dog near his home in Cheshire days after the incident in Saipan
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane
Roy Keane opened up about his Ireland and Manchester United careers in an ITV4 documentary detailing his relationship with Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira
Manager Martin O'Neill of Republic of Ireland and assistant manager Roy Keane talk with the players
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

ROY KEANE has admitted his regret at missing out on the 2002 World Cup and suggested that he should have put his personal issues with Mick McCarthy to one side for the sake of the country.

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The Ireland assistant manager opened up on the topic in the ITV4 documentary detailing his relationship with Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.

When asked about things he would change from his career, Keane referenced the Saipan debacle.

"To play in the World Cup. It would have been nice to play," said Keane. "A lot of people were disappointed, particularly my family.

"Mick (McCarthy) did say to me that, 'If you don't respect me, how can you play for me?' What I should have said was, I wasn't playing for him, I was playing for my country -- but I think it had obviously gone then."

Keane, who spent large parts of the programme detailing his grievances with his former ally Alex Ferguson, again stressed his issues with Ireland's preparations for the tournament.

"I just felt we needed to change our attitudes a little bit, at least prepare as well as the Germans and the Brazilians. Why not prepare as well as them?" he said.

"People always thought I was looking for perfection, far from it. What I was looking for was progress."

Keane opened the segment on his international career by suggesting that 'frustration' comes to mind if he is asked what his time with Ireland meant to him.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio this morning, pundit Eamon Dunphy said Keane had expressed something he had never said before.

"On that issue about the World Cup, he clearly expressed regret that he hadn’t expressed before.

"I think it’s worth bearing in mind that he was sent home," he explained, adding that Roy Keane had offered to stay after his well-documented outburst against McCarthy but was sent home from Saipan.

"It clearly hurts him – it was an interesting programme," Dunphy said.

By Daniel McDonnell

Irish Independent

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