Assistant says player endorsement matters more than high-profile criticism
Keith Andrews says the view of the Ireland players carries more weight than Roy Keane’s criticism of his capabilities.
Former Ireland captain Keane, who served as number two to Martin O’Neill, took aim at current assistant Andrews in a Sunday Independent interview in 2020. “I’ve heard a lot of bulls***ters over the last 10 years and Keith Andrews is up there with the best of them,” he said.
Andrews has never been asked directly about the comments, but they were raised when he was put up on press duties ahead of this evening’s international friendly with Lithuania. In his time as a pundit, he had questioned Keane’s effectiveness as an understudy to O’Neill.
“It didn’t affect me in the slightest,” said Andrews. “My conscience would be very, very clean in terms of what I put into it (the role) because, apart from family life, it is actually the only thing I care about, in terms of making this team better, in terms of making Irish football better, in terms of giving us a team we are proud to watch.
“It is the only team I care about, so, no, it didn’t affect me. When you go into a new job, players pretty quickly suss you out if you are not up to the level. So in terms of the preparation going into it, it was obviously of a high level.”
When it was put to him that there was a difference in philosophy between the respective regimes as regards how they interacted with the group, Andrews replied: “In terms of previous regimes ,that was their bag. I was very much a fan at that stage. I travelled to the Euros as a fan (2016) or a player in a certain period (2012 )and before that I was very much a fan.
“This is our regime and this is how we see fit to put things into place, and hopefully, we can just continue to work and continue building to keep that momentum going.”
Andrews has given up all of his media commitments to concentrate fully on the Irish role, feeling they were a distraction.
Ireland have no injury concerns but rotation is likely with a first start for Wigan striker Will Keane on the cards. Burnley defender Nathan Collins is also in the frame.