Monday 23 September 2019

'He's coming into his prime in coaching and management' - Gary Neville insists Roy Keane is no risk for club job

Pictured is Gary Neville during the Cadbury launch third year as sponsor of Premier League at The Marker Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Pictured is Gary Neville during the Cadbury launch third year as sponsor of Premier League at The Marker Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

David Sneyd

Gary Neville feels Roy Keane is coming into the prime of his managerial career and shouldn't be viewed as a risky appointment for potential club owners.

Having shared a dressing room as players for more than a decade with Manchester United, both then experienced different fates in the coaching world.

Keane led Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League, before keeping them up the following season and resigning during his third term.

He then suffered an ill-fated spell in charge of Ipswich Town, where he was sacked, and it was only last year that he parted company with the FAI, where he was assistant manager to Martin O'Neill, after five years by his side.

Neville had his own experience of life as a No.2 with England and then endured a disastrous stint at the helm with Valencia.

However, while he has no desire to return to the dugout, he insists Keane does and shouldn't be disregarded by what has happened in his career to date.

"For me, that is a problem in English, British football, that we actually see a manager who is actually more experienced and is seen as a bigger risk. Roy is now the most experienced he's ever been in management. He's seen more than he has ever seen before," Neville feels.

"Roy wants to be a coach, he wants to get back into management, he's passionate about it. And, for me, I would say that, he's an authoritative figure, he's an experienced coach now, who's coached internationally and at club level.

"Actually, he's getting to a point where, I would say he's coming into his prime having gone through that learning of the first 10 years in coaching and management. Which is, to be fair, difficult for anybody.

"There are very few coaches who just all of a sudden just hit the ground running straight away, amazing. You have to get through those moments, I mean think of lads like Harry Redknapp or Neil Warnock, Sam Allardyce. These guys who have survived - Tony Pulis - 30-years in the game. They've had bumps and knocks and obstacles along the way. But they get through them and they carry on going.

"And that's the thing with Roy, he's basically had his successes, he's had a couple of bumps. He's as experienced, and, to be fair, qualified, as he's ever been in his life to be a coach. Why would he be a risk now? I don't see it.

"So, the reality of it is... even with punditry, before I went to Valencia I was seen as this amazing pundit: 'Oh, amazing pundit, best pundit ever.' You go to Valencia, have four months of incredible experience where I'm more informed about the game. 'How can he speak on television about football?' How can I speak before I was a manager?

"It's madness, the perception, it's not logical. It's not logical, and I think, if you think about it, you know, some of the great managers, Sir Alex Ferguson was sacked. (Jupp) Heynckes who won the treble with Bayern Munich was sacked in his early years, two or three times I think. Jose Mourinho's now been sacked a few times. Managers get sacked, but they're actually better for that experience."

It's a route which Robbie Keane is now experiencing – as Jonathan Woodgate's assistant with Middlesbrough and on Mick McCarthy's coaching staff with Ireland.

Like Neville, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool striker has also dabbled in television, and he has some words of warning.

"I think Robbie is, what I would say to Robbie is that I think he has to commit. I've seen he is coach with Ireland, doing Sky work, he's at Middlesbrough. I've been there, done that, if he wants to be a coach he has to 100 per cent be thinking about it every single minute of every single day, that's not to say he can't do the odd appearance in the media. At the end of the say it's up to him, I don't think you can do both.

"I think club and country you can do, but it's difficult. Particularly as a coach which he is, talking about doing media; club, country, personal interests, family. All of a sudden it becomes very demanding and something becomes compromised along the way. Robbie is a great lad and it's a case of finding himself. I did it. I was writing newspaper articles, doing Sky, had my business interests and England assistant. Madness really, it was madness."

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