Sunday 18 March 2018

Roy Keane: We wanted to kill a few of the players last night... they should count their blessings

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane was not pleased with the performance in Turner's Cross last night that saw his side fall to a 2-1 defeat to Belarus in their final Euro 2016 warm-up game.

Speaking at Fota Island, the former Manchester United captain admitted that a number of players who made Martin O'Neill's final 23 had not covered themselves in glory.

"We wanted to kill some of them last night," he said. "I've moved on from that.

"They should be counting their blessing that they've managed to get on the flight.

"A reality check for one or two players who thought they were good players.

"Sometimes we make excuses for players, 'They've not played much football', but they're still training, you still control the ball, you have to run. You can still physically get into decent shape.

"You can lack match sharpness, you can forgive a player for that but you've got to get yourself in a good state. Be fit. Be as strong as you can. Eat properly. Prepare properly.

"You're playing international football. Control the bloody ball. Pass it to you mates and if you lose it, run back and run back like you care."

Asked if he thought he needed to push the players harder after last night's showing, he added: "They need to push themselves that doesn't come from the coaches. It comes from good players, good pros. We trained this morning... the Glenn Whelans, the Jon Walters, the Seamus Colemans... I didn't have to push any of them this morning. Strange isn't it."

One player who came in for criticism was Aiden McGeady, who was allowed to join up with Ireland squad by Sheffield Wednesday despite their involvement in the Championship playoffs, but has made the plane to France on the back of some impressive displays early in the qualifiying campaign.

"Aiden, over the last few months, has had a taste of football at Sheffield Wednesday. I know he hasn't played the last few weeks," Keane added.

"He did take that decision to leave Everton and get some action whereas a lot of players sit around and think well it's not the right for me. You have to give Aiden some credit for that.

"Would Aiden find himself lucky to be on the flight?... well he'll need to play better than he did last night to force his way into the starting XI.

"Aiden has had good moments for Ireland, if you go back to the start of the group, Generally speaking, without overreacting the players that have made it have all played their part in helping us get there.

"If you want my reaction to Aiden's performance last night, he can do a lot better but maybe that's the story of his career."

McGeady's Everton team mate Darron Gibson was another to miss out on selection and Keane revealed that he would have had to do something rather special last night to dislodge one of the other midfielders in the 23.

"I don't think whatever Gibbo did last night, unless he got a hat trick, could have changed the managers mind," he added.

"I think the manager has been very upfront with Gibbo. He's not played too much football in the last few months"

More to follow

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