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Hareide: 'Able deputies can play a role'


Ireland assistant Roy Keane. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland assistant Roy Keane. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland assistant Roy Keane. Pic: Sportsfile

While the 60-something old bosses man the touchline for the World Cup play-off, the young lieutenants can play a big role in helping either Ireland or Denmark advance to the World Cup finals next summer.

That's the view from Denmark coach Age Hareide as he's clearly pleased to have a classy and experienced assistant in the form of Denmark legend Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Hareide (64) and O'Neill (65) are close in age and while there's a bigger age difference between Roy Keane (46) and Tomasson (41), the two assistants can still play a role.

"Jon is an icon in Denmark, as the team's record scorer, and he knows the game really well and has played under some of the best managers in football," Hareide says of Tomasson, who won the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Serie A as a player.

"He also gives me a link to the players because he's close to them - he played with many of them - and is someone they look up to. I imagine it's the same for Martin with (Roy) Keane, who's obviously a lot younger too and, like Jon, has huge experience of playing for the national team."

While Hareide has admiration for Keane, he is also a fan of the work done by O'Neill, as the duo know each other well from their time as team-mates in England in the early '80s, first at Manchester City and then Norwich City.

"I can imagine Martin is very good in that respect because he was my captain at Norwich and he was always very good one-to-one, talking you through games," he says when asked to talk about O'Neill's motivational skills.

"I spoke to some players who knew him at Celtic and they said he was a great motivator. That side of management is very important and, like Martin, I prefer to keep things simple. Instilling belief is the key thing, I feel, because believing in yourself, and not being frightened of losing, is so important to players producing their best."

Denmark's players, some carrying injury, were assembled by Hareide today at their base in Helsingor, 40km north of Copenhagen.