Sport Soccer

Sunday 21 July 2019

'He has a couple of personal things to attend to' - Martin O'Neill reveals why Roy Keane is still mulling over Forest offer

Martin O’Neill with Roy Keane during their days on the Ireland sideline. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin O’Neill with Roy Keane during their days on the Ireland sideline. Photo: Sportsfile
New sheriff in town: Martin O’Neill walks down the tunnel at the City Ground as he is unveiled as new Nottingham Forest manager. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Martin O'Neill has revealed Roy Keane has yet to decide whether to join him in his Nottingham Forest coaching set-up, with family issues among the reasons for a delay in confirming his return to the City Ground.

Forest legend O'Neill has signed an 18-month contract to return to the club where he enjoyed great success in his playing days and has vowed to walk away from the role if he fails to get the club back into the Premier League during the course of that relatively brief reign.

While he has confirmed he wants Keane to revive the partnership the duo enjoyed during their five years overseeing the fortunes of the Republic of Ireland team, O'Neill has confirmed the former Forest midfielder has yet to make a final decision on whether to resume his role as assistant manager.

While the door has been left open for Keane to sign up for an 18-month stint as O'Neill's assistant, the new Forest manager suggested the health of Keane's father Mossie may have a factor in his decision to move to Forest, after he confirmed he is currently suffering from ill-health.

"He has a couple of things to really mull over and I would really like him to come to the football club if he could," said O’Neill. "I enjoyed working with him and I think that he would be a great help.

"He was great with us and I took him on board as the assistant manager at the time. I didn't say that I knew him brilliantly at that time. Who knows after five years if I know him at all!

"Overall, he was great for me and great for the players and the genuine truth is that I don't think that we would have qualified for the Euros without his presence. And I have been unflinching in that support.

"It's not a long, long period of time, hopefully not a long period of time out of his life. He is a young man, I think that he wants to manage himself and I think that he is very capable of doing that.

"I would not mind him coming but at this time I could not tell you precisely (if that will happen.)

"I think that he is looking at a number of things. He has a couple of personal things to attend to. He took his family away for a few days and has just come back home, he was away in America.

"He had things planned and his dad is not well at the moment and he has had to look at that as well too. So he has had genuinely very little time to consider anything that was coming his way. I think that is something that he has to make a decision on but, no, it was not something we talked about greatly."

O'Neill was also asked to address criticism from the final days of his reign as Ireland boss suggesting his managerial methods were out-dated in the modern game, as he hinted he was keen to silence his critics by succeeding at Forest.

"You mentioned a point earlier about players today and there are changes that have taken place in this modern game now that you address," he added.

"I think we will all look at those particular things and what I am talking about is the players being able to accept some sort of criticism and fight back.

"From my own viewpoint that would have been my stance, but I accept that it is not everyone's. And I think that we can all learn."

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