I'm no monster

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference ahead of their Three International Friendly match against Latvia on Friday. Republic of Ireland Press Conference, Grand Hotel, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture: David Maher/Sportsfile

Paul Hyland

ROY KEANE began the hard work of image rehabilitation by rejecting the notion that he is some sort of 'monster' and embracing the role of agony uncle within the Ireland squad for Martin O'Neill.

"I'm not as bad as everyone makes me out to be in terms of criticising players. Demanding of players? Of course, and hopefully that will never change," he said.

"But this idea of being . . . I don't know, being a bit more softer with players – because obviously I'm not going to be the one dropping players or leaving players out – that might give me the opportunity to be nicer to players, but without being a pal to them either.

"Hopefully, the players are in for a pleasant surprise, particularly the lads who've not worked with me.

"I know people can believe what they hear and read and, if they're thinking for some reason that some monster's going to turn up and, all of a sudden, I'm quite placid," said Keane with a smile.


Keane believes that there is work to do to change the mindset of players stuck in Giovanni Trapattoni's rut and in more general terms, unable to believe that they can beat bigger nations.

"It might be in the mindset, not necessarily the players but sometimes the supporters and if the supporters feel that, sometimes it can reach the players.

"Sometimes it's in the air, like a negative energy. It's very hard to win games of football but you want to get it into the mindset that certainly you should believe you have a chance of winning a game of football.

"From what I've seen over the last day or two, there's plenty of good options from players who can play in different ways.

"Listen, I'm not saying Ireland can all of a sudden start playing like Brazil or Barcelona, I understand that.

"Ireland have some good players - the boy Hoolahan, McCarthy, Ireland if he gets back. Every time I see Anthony Stokes, he affects games. I've worked with Stokesy, Aiden McGeady.

"They're all talented boys, no matter what way you look at it."