'I never imagined he would ring me' - Robbie Keane considering dual role after offer to join Middlesbrough
Robbie Keane is considering taking up the job of assistant manager at Middlesbrough - but no matter what he will remain part of Mick McCarthy's Ireland's management set up.
"It was the first thing I nailed down with the 'Boro Chairman Steve Gibson yesterday when I met him. That if I go in with Jonathon Woodgate, I can stay with Ireland," said Keane as he visited Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin yesterday as part of his duties as a Euro 2020 Ambassador.
"I've to talk about it with my family, that's the big thing now. The last few days have been such a whirlwind, with the Ireland games, I've now got to sit down and think about it and it is up to me if I want to do it."
Keane said he was surprised to get the call from ex-team-mate Woodgate.
"I've known him for over 20 years, and I saw in the papers that he was being linked with Middlesbrough, but never imagined he would ring me about this," Keane added.
"I don't want to rush this decision and don't want to rush my management career either, so I have to think about this.
"Last summer I met the World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi while I was on holidays, and he told me, 'Robbie, don't rush your management career, you have maybe 40 years ahead of it for you, don't rush it.'
"So I've taken his words to heart and now I've a big decision to make, but it won't affect Ireland, that's for sure. If the FAI or Mick McCarthy had an issue with me considering this job, I'd just have said 'thanks but no' to Middlesbrough."