Soccer

Saturday 2 August 2014

Roy Keane mulls move to Aston Villa as offers pour in for Corkman

Deal would allow him to stay on as Ireland number two

Daniel McDonnell and Ian Mallon

Published 02/06/2014|13:25

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31 May 2014;  Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane before the start of the game. International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v Italy, Craven Cottage, Fulham, London, England. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Roy Keane

ASTON VILLA want to bring in Roy Keane as assistant manager in an arrangement that would allow him to stay on as Ireland number two.

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Keane turned down an opportunity to manage Celtic in order to stay on with the Irish set-up and he will travel to America on Wednesday for the US tour.

Paul Lambert, the manager of the Premier League side, needs new back-up after his former assistants Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa were sacked - and Keane has emerged as an option.

The Corkman would be able to do both jobs if he said yes. Lambert played under Ireland boss Martin O'Neill during a successful spell at Celtic.

Ireland's Shay Given and Villa legend Gordon Cowans formed a temporary backroom staff for the final month of the Premier League season.

Celtic expected to name Keane as their new manager today and were surprised by his change of heart over the weekend.

The 42-year-old told O'Neill and FAI CEO John Delaney this morning that he would be remaining in the Irish set-up.

Having given the role some "serious consideration" he had asked not to be considered for the job.

Keane made his decision known to Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and FAI Chief Executive John Delaney earlier today.

A football source told independent.ie today: "He's not going anywhere. He weighed up all his options, but the truth is he is doing a great job with Ireland and he loves working with Martin O'Neill."

The news comes following a week of speculation mounting about where Keane’s future lay.

The FAI later released a short statement confirming Keane would be staying put.

It read: "The Football Association of Ireland today (June 2) confirmed that Roy Keane will travel with the Republic of Ireland squad to the US after he decided not to pursue the informal talks that took place with Celtic any further."

Keane, who finished his playing career at Parkhead,  was first linked to the Celtic manager job after Neil Lennon stepped down from the position 10 days ago.

When Keane was first questioned over the speculation linking him with the role, he played down the reports, saying: "I've got a job - I've got two jobs - I can't have another one.

"They are a brilliant club, an absolutely fantastic football club, one of the best in the world. But I have got a job."

He added with a smile: "I'm not taking a pay cut for anybody."

Martin O'Neill confirmed last Tuesday that he had been approached by Celtic owner Dermot Desmond to gain permission to speak with the Cork man.

Keane has been the odds-on favourite to take over the role ever since but the news that he has reaffirmed his commitment to Martin O'Neill and the Republic of Ireland setup will come as a major boost to Martin O'Neill, the FAI, the Irish squad and supporters.

Former Celtic striker Henrik Larsson had been the early favourite to assume the role but he ruled himself out of the running.

Steve Clarke is now the new favourite to take over with the SPL champions at 4/6, former Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay is next at 3/1 and former Irish international Owen Coyle is 5/1.

Keane will now be on the flight for Ireland's United States tour where they take on Portugal and Costa Rica.

Fans have been reacting on twitter to the news:

View the story "Twitter reacts to the news that Roy Keane is staying with Ireland" on Storify

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