Roy Keane: 'I was in court last week because I apparently glare at people'
Roy Keane has revealed he has “concerns” Ireland is no longer producing footballers who can compete at the top level.
The Ireland assistant manager was speaking at a fundraising event for children’s charity Barretstown in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin last night.
Asked if he was concerned that the big Premiership clubs were not looking for Irish talent, he said it is a “worry” that we no longer have the calibre of players who played in the 1990 World Cup.
“What’s happened to good young Irish players over the last couple years, I don’t know. Obviously you look back to that squad (1990 World Cup) a lot of the players were with the big clubs the Man Uniteds, the Chelseas, the Arsenals. You compare the Irish squad now and you say what has happened?”
He added: “It is a concern. Where are these players? How come they’re not at the bigger clubs? Even with the senior squad we’ve got a lot of lads in the Championship, some heading into League One and it’s definitely a worry,” he said.
The former footballer was asked about a range of topics, in the discussion which was chaired by broadcaster Matt Copper, including his youth and his dream to become a footballer.
“The dream always for me as young fella was to become a footballer,” he said. “I look back now and had no real interest in school. I was constantly just dreaming about becoming a footballer.”
He joked that wasn’t a message he had been passing on to his children.
Asked about his feelings now towards Man United he said he goes to some game but does not feel any “attachment” to the club and does not consider himself a fan.
“I didn’t think I was a Man United fan was a player for them. And I mean that in a nice way,” he said, revealing he was always a fan of Tottenham Hotspur.
“Fan is too strong a word,” he said,
Keane briefly referred to the recent court case where he was cleared of road rage charges after a taxi driver accused him of glaring aggressively at him.
"I was in court last week because I apparently glare at people. He added: " My kids always say to me: 'Are you happy Dad?' And I say 'yeah' and they say 'well tell your face'.
Asked if he thought controversial FAI chief executive John Delaney would make a good replacement for outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter, he said: "Well I can't see into the future. I'm just glad he's working for the FAI, we obviously don't want to lose him."
He also joked about the recent car crash he was involved in on the M50 when the car he and Martin O’Neill were travelling in was hit by another car.
Referring to the famous occasion when his Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough punched him after an on-field mistake, Matt Cooper asked him was it the only time he never returned a punch.
“No a fella hit me few weeks ago on the M50 and I didn’t hit back,” he said.
The discussion was the first part of a series of talks with high-profile figures aimed at raising money for the charity.
He later said he may leave his job as assistant manager if Ireland fail to qualify for the European Championships and says he sees himself returning to club management in the coming years.
Asked about the job he said he was “very content” in his position with the Irish international team but said he plans to return to club management in the future.
“I’m really enjoying my time with Ireland at the moment. Obviously things might change in the next few months depending on results. But I see myself getting back into club management hopefully in the next few years, we’ll see. I know people have been quite dismissive of my managerial career and I have been myself but I feel I did OK at Sunderland and I’m not patting myself on the back,” he said.
He added: “Long term do I see myself getting back into management? Yes. I think there will be a job out there for me and hopefully I can do a good one.”
Speaking later in the evening on whether he will stay in his job if Ireland fail to qualify, he said it would depend on whether the FAI wanted the management team to stay on and if Martin O'Neill wanted him to remain in the position.
"It's all ifs and ands. If we didn't qualify, do the FAI want to keep us on? That's a big question mark. Would Martin want to stay on? Martin's a very proud man. If he did stay on, would he want me to say on with him? If he's gone obviously I'm gone. Even if Martin stays on do I want to get back into the driving seat myself? We'll see, we'll see.
He added: "I'm enjoying the job. Do I see myself here in two years? Who knows," he said.
Speaking before Keane took to the stage, Barretstown chief executive Dee Ahearn said the charity must raise €4.5m every year to run its services.
A special tribute was also paid to late broadcaster Bill O’Herlihy who was originally due to chair the discussion. A montage was played before Keane took to the stage.