Sunday 22 April 2018

'Have you been drinking?' - Roy Keane dismisses suggestion Ireland are favourites against Belgium

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference at Versailles in Paris
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference at Versailles in Paris

Paul Hyland in Versailles

Roy Keane has ruled Jon Walters out of Ireland's second Euro 2016 group game in Bordeaux on Saturday but has no intention of writing him off for the rest of the tournament.

"I'm certainly not writing him off. Sometimes when you miss a game through injury you can still bring something to the party. Don't be writing him out of this tournament. I'm certainly not," said Keane today.

Focused fully now on Belgium and a huge game in Bordeaux on Saturday, Keane was reminded that he savaged Eden Hazard during his time as an ITV pundit over his attitude to training and his desire to move from Chelsea to PSG.

But Keane doesn't want Hazard to take his criticism to heart.

"It's nothing personal. I would do that to anyone. He was talking about leaving his club  and I've nothing against the lad. He's a talented boy and I'd like him in our group," said Keane.

"If someone at any club, Rockmount, Cobh, Manchester United, had a poor attitude, I would kick him in training but I've done that with most lads," he laughed.

Keane believes that Belgium are still one of the most dangerous teams in the tournament and that Ireland will have be at their very best to build on the opening draw against Sweden.

"This is a dangerous game for us and Belgium are a dangerous team. They can still have a big say in this tournament."

Asked by a Belgian journalist whether Ireland were now favourites for the game in Bordeaux on Saturday, he laughed outright and said: "Ireland favourites? Have you been drinking?

"There are not that many great teams out there but Belgium are a good team, a really good team.

"I don't know if they've got much criticism from the Italy game, but they still created lots and lots of chances.

"They have the potential to be a great team and they came in as one of the favourites and I still think they will do well in the tournament."

Online Editors

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