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O'Neill believes Roy can become his own boss in the near future

MARTIN O'Neill says he has no doubt that Roy Keane will be back in management as a No. 1 in the near future - and the Ireland boss even predicts that Keane could follow him in the Ireland hotseat.

Former Sunderland and Ipswich boss Keane is currently doubling up as assistant manager with Ireland and with Aston Villa but he has spoken to his desire to become a No. 1 again - an idea that his Ireland boss O'Neill has backed.

Asked if he could manage Ireland, O'Neill said: "I don't see why not. I'm sure these sort of experiences will stand him in good stead. I think probably his experience at Ipswich has probably knocked him back a little bit and upset him a little bit.

"But I've no doubt he is very capable and he will be a manager at both club level and international level in the not too distant future."

"He's enjoying both roles," O'Neill added.

"He's obviously keen to learn, keen to pick up again and I'm quite sure in the not too distant future he will go manage on his own again.

"I'm sure that's something everybody will probably want to see, but in the meantime he's actively enjoying it."

Meanwhile, Glenn Whelan's injury status is a major concern for Stoke City.

Dubliner Whelan was substituted early in the second half of Tuesday's 1-1 draw in Germany and while Whelan was initially upbeat about his prospects of being fit for Stoke's game at home to Swansea tomorrow, his club boss is concerned.

"We have got a big worry over Glenn Whelan, unfortunately, and he's gone for a scan today to get a real understanding of what's going on," Stoke boss Mark Hughes said yesterday. "He had a big bang on his leg and is in a lot of pain at the moment and we need to get to the bottom of that."