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EXCLUSIVE: 'I probably shouldn’t have said it' - Roy Keane on club speculation

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Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference. Republic of Ireland Press Conference, National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference. Republic of Ireland Press Conference, National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference. Republic of Ireland Press Conference, National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Roy Keane has given the strongest possible indication of his intention to remain as Martin O'Neill assistant for the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.

Last night at the annual Player Football Association of Ireland (PFAI) awards ceremony, Keane was asked about his future amid speculation of departing the Ireland set-up once next summer's European Championships in France are over.

“I probably shouldn’t have said it,” Keane said his midweek comments suggesting he was pining for a return to the English club circuit.

“Our contract takes us up to the summer and a lot depends on what Martin wants to do."

With O'Neill already stating publicly his wish to stay on, that part seems a formality.

“If Martin does want me to stay on, it would be hard to say no because I’m a loyal person," said the former Sunderland and Ipswich Town manager.

“I’m still only 44 and not looking to jump ship. The grass isn’t always greener.

"I do want to get back in the ring and make the big calls. That could be two or four years away. And you get more money as the manager!"

Keane admitted his role as O’Neill’s sidekick has proved the perfect learning experience at this stage of his career.

He said: “Martin has great man-management skills. He knows his players. Just like Brian Clough did, Martin keeps it simple.

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"We generally see things the same in terms of the way the game should be played and with players.

“All of the staff like Steve Guppy and Steve Walford, we do enjoy each other’s company. And that's very important to have, it certainly helps.

“Not that we’re yes men. There are no hidden agendas from us.”

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