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'Martin and Roy can get best out of the players'

FAI CHIEF Executive John Delaney confirmed today that the way is now clear for Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane to take over the national team, and he also insisted that there was "no problem" between Delaney and the new No. 2 of the Republic's side as their previous rows were "irrelevant".

Keane and Delaney have a controversial past history with a number of public spats since the drama of Saipan in 2002 - though Delaney today got his maths muddled and claimed that the matter happened 13 years ago. But the CEO said that he held a meeting with Keane last week and they pair managed to clear up their difference and agreed to work together "to make Irish football great again".

Contracts have not been signed as Keane and O'Neill are in Spain working for ITV but Delaney (left) said the hiring of the new management team was a "job done".

"There is nothing that will be an impediment to that happening, Martin managing Ireland and Roy being his assistant, and I hope that this coming Saturday we will have an unveiling of the new Irish manager," he said.

"They will be quizzed tonight on TV, documents have to be signed yet but contracts have been with lawyers since Sunday and Monday, there is nothing in principle that will be an impediment. Roy and Martin being in Spain this week for TV slowed things down but as far as I can see it's a job done.

"We want to get the best out of our players, and Martin as manager with Roy as assistant, can do that."

Delaney insisted that he and the FAI can work with Keane, who once described Delaney simply as "that man".

"The backroom staff is the manager's decision. When Martin agreed to be the manager, he would decide who his assistant and who his goalkeeping coach would be. He asked what the association's view would be of Roy being assistant, and I said there was no absolutely no problem," said Delaney today.



"Roy's relationships with the association have been speculated about. Roy and I didn't have much contact in the past, he was a player with the team and I was a young honorary treasurer.

"So when we met last week there was no problem whatsoever. We discussed the past, for about 30 seconds, but it was all about the future, I don't think we had sat down and spoken before we met last week.

"The past is the past, you don't live in the past you learn from it. And we want to get to France in 2016.

"We all said things at different parts of our life that we regret, we all say things that are relevant at a point in time, but anything that would have been said by Roy or me, to each other or about each other, is now irrelevant. Irish football, and our country, is bigger than anything," added Delaney.

He explained that O'Neill and Keane will meet the press in Dublin on Saturday and then begin work on Sunday, preparing for Friday's game against Latvia, although due to time restraints, O'Neill may not have his coaching staff in place in time for the double header against Latvia and Poland.

"Martin will take the coaching next week. Once the contracts are signed Martin will take the coaching but he will speak to me next week about his backroom staff," Delaney added.