Sunday 24 March 2019

Martin O'Neill: Roy Keane's book was always going to cause furore but seems quite funny

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O’Neill says he has no problems with the timing of Roy Keane’s book and re-iterated that he had no reason to speak to his assistant about its content before the release.

The Ireland manager was pressed on Keane’s headline generating autobiography ‘The Second Half’ after training at Malahide this morning ahead of the Euro 2016 double header with Gibraltar and Germany.

O’Neill is accustomed to speaking at length about his high profile assistant, but dismissed queries about the revelations in the book by explaining that he had not gotten around to reading them.

“I genuinely don’t know what the headlines are in the book,” he insisted, “Peter [Sherrard - the FAI head of communications] has just give me some updates, and some recent stuff seems to be quite funny.

“It obviously was going to cause some sort of furore at some stage or another, the very fact he put his name to this book would suggest that it's exactly what would happen. It's there and it doesn't matter. The games are the most important things for us. They are the main reason we are here.

“We have to go and win the Gibraltar game [on Saturday]. I wouldn’t want anything to be a distraction. You could turn around and tell me that speaking about this is a distraction but nevertheless such is life and you get on with it. But it’s not a problem to me. Why should it be?”

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane, during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday.

The 63-year-old confirmed again that no discussion had taken place between the Irish management team regarding the details of the publication.

“I’ve said this before,” he replied, “I thought about it one stage or another but then, why? He’s over 21, I think, and should be capable of dealing with his own stuff.

“How many times can I answer the same question? The most important issue here is our game and it’s important to focus on that. Let’s just say we came here and there hadn’t been a book - there would have been something else, seriously.

“He would have slipped on the field and we’d have been talking about that, maybe broken his leg or something. There will always be something in the lead up to games - that I can guarantee.”

Keane was active on the Gannon Park pitch with cameras trained in on his distinctive new bearded look.

After poking fun at the dress sense of journalists last month, O’Neill was asked if he would talk to the man of the moment about his appearance.

“I might well do because he looks really bedraggled. There is no doubt at all about it but I think he wants to join your group so that’s the essence of it.”

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