Tuesday 16 January 2018

Dream team summit to thrash out finer details of O'Neill and Keane partnership

O'Neill and Keane meet in Spain as FAI chiefs set to confirm €2m annual package

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MARTIN O'NEILL and Roy Keane are thrashing out the dynamics of their Irish managerial partnership in San Sebastian, with the announcement of their appointment by the FAI imminent.

They are in Spain working on ITV's coverage of tonight's Champions League meeting between Real Sociedad and Manchester United, but O'Neill spoke with the FAI last night in relation to the terms and conditions of the contract.

The 61-year-old anticipates that he will be officially confirmed as the new Ireland manager today, with the FAI eager to have the formalities tied up before the pair appear on television together.

With everything agreed on the financial side, the minor details up for discussion last night relate to the legal terms of the deal – with lawyers looking over it – and also the designation of roles within a back-room team comprising Keane, coaches Steve Walford and Steve Guppy and goalkeeping expert Seamus McDonagh.

The combined package is set to cost the FAI over €2m a year.

O'Neill and Keane have a limited window of time to adjust to their new positions, with decisions to be made ahead of the forthcoming friendlies with Latvia and Poland.

The duo spoke at length last week about the possibility of the Corkman coming on board, but the trip to Spain will allow them to plot the road ahead in greater detail.

The Ireland squad are due to assemble in Portmarnock on Sunday evening – but players have yet to be informed if they made the final cut.

With such a huge level of interest in the FAI's new 'dream team' there will be particularly heavy focus on the training ground optics in the build-up to Friday week's meeting with the Latvians in Dublin.

Both O'Neill (right) and Keane allowed their assistants to oversee the majority of sessions in their club stints as No 1s, but they will have to take a more hands-on role in the international sphere.

Ray Houghton, who was part of the manager hunt with Ruud Dokter – although neither spoke with O'Neill – feels that the union could prove to be an educational experience for his old team-mate Keane.

"I think Roy has got some things to learn when it comes to football management," said Houghton. "He's only been in the game a short time. If he was to go in alongside Martin then I think he'd learn a great deal.

"You do learn from your mistakes," he added. "Sometimes in English football there's too much of a stigma attached when you're sacked."

Irish Independent

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