Monday 11 December 2017

Martin O'Neill: Latest Roy Keane incident might be a concern - I can't say it doesn't bother me

Garry Doyle

Martin O'Neill believes the publicity surrounding Roy Keane's argument with a taxi-driver in Manchester last Friday has been grossly exaggerated, but admitted it might be "a concern".

For the third time in as many months, Keane has found himself in the eye of a storm, when Greater Manchester Police confirmed they are investigating an alleged incident between the Irish assistant manager and a taxi driver, Fateh Kerar, who claims Keane subjected him to a foul-mouth tirade on Friday.

"I can't say it doesn't bother me," O'Neill said at a FAI launch yesterday where they announced a sponsorship deal with Spar. "Of course it might be a concern. I have spoken to Roy about it."

"The phrase mountain out of a molehill comes to mind. I am prepared to listen to what Roy has said about the incident. When the full information comes out, I think we will see how the story has been exaggerated."

This latest episode with Keane comes just two months after he had an argument with an Irish fan, Frank Gillespie, in the team hotel just days before he clashed with two journalists at a press conference. Yet he insists Keane's presence on the managerial ticket is not a distraction.

"I have not found it a distraction and I don't find the publicity surrounding Roy is a distraction. If Roy walked to the shop, people will be interested. They would wonder, 'what he has bought? How come he has opted for bananas rather than apples?' I genuinely don't have a problem with the news that came out on Friday. As long as he is good for Ireland, which he has been, then I am very happy.

"If you ask the players about his contribution, they will say he has been excellent. Like, anything else, if something gets out of hand, then that will be different. But this is a mountain out of a molehill.

"And do you know what? I am sure there will be more incidents."

Jokingly, O'Neill added: "Probably by next weekend."

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