Monday 11 December 2017

Roy Keane expecting no ban against Republic of Ireland WAGs at Euro 2016

Roy Keane does not expect WAGs to be banned from the Republic of Ireland team hotel at the Euro 2016 finals
Roy Keane does not expect WAGs to be banned from the Republic of Ireland team hotel at the Euro 2016 finals

Roy Keane does not expect WAGs to be banned from the Republic of Ireland hotel at the Euro 2016 finals.

However, he has admitted that his own family may not have wanted to be anywhere near him during a major tournament anyway.

Keane was asked about the issue on Tuesday after it emerged that Wales boss Chris Coleman will not allow any wives or girlfriends into the team hotel during the first stage of the nation's first trip to the finals of a major tournament since 1958.

He said: "Listen, we're working with the senior team and we treat them like men, like adults, and if there are opportunities for the players to see families, I think that will be open to the players - as long as it's not silly and three or four days before the game.

"There is a time and a place for everything. If we need to remind anyone, we're going over there to try and do well in the tournament.

"From my own experience when I've been away, my own family have not been too keen to meet up with me. Every family to their own - sometimes they are glad to see the back of you.

"I don't think it will be a problem for our group. We have a lot of experienced players and they know we're going over there to do well in the tournament and family holidays and visiting people in hotels, that's no big deal.

"We will give the players decent freedom and treat them like men and they have to respect that - but they have done since we've come into the job."

Ireland begin their preparations in earnest with friendlies against Switzerland on Friday and Slovakia next Tuesday after securing their trip to France with a play-off victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

That alone was a creditable achievement after they emerged from a group which also included world champions Germany and Poland, although Keane has told the players to forget all about that as they prepare to do battle with Sweden, Belgium and Italy.

He said: "This idea that, people say, 'It's great that you've qualified' - listen, that's done and dusted now. The mindset has got to be go over there and have an impact and do everything we can to get out of the group, which is obviously a tough group - but we knew that with the seeding."

Keane, of course, famously returned from the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East having not kicked a ball in anger after rowing with then manager Mick McCarthy over the facilities at the squad's disposal, and there will be no lack of attention to detail this time around.

Asked what was required, he said: "The right facilities. Have some gear, have some balls - footballs, I mean - a decent training pitch, good facilities for the players to unwind whatever they might be doing, because obviously there are only so many hours we can train."

O'Neill reported for duty this week with his future - his current contract runs until after the finals - still unresolved, although with talks seemingly imminent, and Keane remains relaxed about his own position.

He said: "The manager is going to have talks over the next month or two and until the manager's situation is sorted out, then mine is not really important as that will be dictated by the manager, and I have nothing to add to that.

"The contract is up in the summer and we play it by ear."

Meanwhile, Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter has returned to his club for treatment on an Achilles injury and Derby's Jeff Hendrick, who has aggravated a shoulder problem, is likely to follow suit.

Robbie Keane, Jonathan Walters and Robbie Brady all sat out training and will continue to be assessed.

Press Association

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