Friday 24 May 2019

Richard Dunne: 'You don't stop playing because someone called you a p****'

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane and (inset) Harry Arter
Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane and (inset) Harry Arter
Richard Dunne

Richard Dunne

The Harry Arter issue has to be sorted out privately. It was a private row which was leaked, that wasn't Roy Keane's fault and it wasn't Harry's fault but between the two of them they have to have a chat and sort it out.

But you can't have a scenario where someone says "I don't like the manager so I won't play". Arter and Keane don't have to like each other... but they have to work with each other, try and have mutual respect and get on with their jobs.

People will feel that Roy has to change his attitude in the way he speaks to players, but the players have to change as well, maybe not simply accept it but get on with it.

Rows happen all the time, you have to close your ears to stuff. If you want to play for Ireland you go and do it, you don't stop playing because someone called you a p****.

If the manager or assistant manager has a problem with you because you are not training, you have a chat about it, maybe have a row over it. But you don't sacrifice your international career over it.

For me, whatever the manager or assistant say or think, you just think to yourself "I am playing for my country, I am not playing for him".

In my career I wanted to play every week and played any time I could, if there was a bad feeling around the camp for whatever reason, you deal with it, all that matters is you doing your best in a team game, you can't let everyone down because you have an issue with one person, you have the opportunity to represent your country so you go and do it.

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But, if the Stephen Ward account is right, it's very poor from the management side, it should never have come down to that.

When you are picking a team, you do it on the basis of how someone has done in training or how their fitness is, you can't go down the road of personal insults as people will lose respect for you.

Roy was probably looking for a reaction from the player. That player's reaction was to step away from the group. That wouldn't have been my way, I'd get it sorted there and then and the idea of not playing for Ireland would never have been an option.

You'd tell the manager or assistant to p*** off and you'd get on with it.

And whatever Roy said, he is the assistant, not the manager. I didn't have much dealings with Roy in the Ireland squad, he was the captain and the driving force of the team but he kept himself to himself. He was a brilliant player to play with but apart from that I didn't really know him.

He comes across as confrontational in the media now and for me, the assistant manager's role was to pick the players up, have a bit of a laugh when things weren't going well.

54 SPORT ONLL KEANE 1571508.jpg
Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill in Cardiff last month

Martin and Roy seem to be alike in their personalities, sometimes having the good cop/bad cop routine works but Martin has joked before that they are two bad cops, so maybe one of them needs to lighten up, spring a bit of relief into the group and take the pressure off, maybe name the team well before kick off, tell the players what the plans are.

I think it's difficult for a player to walk out and play in a game like that when you only know the team an hour earlier.

Results don't suggest that it is working now, that old school approach, and you have to change.

Martin has brilliant motivational skills but if the players are losing their belief in him, or respect for him, because of what's happened on the training ground, by the time you get to the dressing room on match day it's too late to display all those motivational skills.

If he tells them in advance what the plan is, the players will instantly have confidence as they are going out knowing exactly what they have to do, they have been prepared in their own heads.

You look at Manchester United now and the difference between the Jose Mourinho of ten years ago and the Jose we have today. The same football isn't working for him now and he has to adapt.

For Ireland we need a manager who can change with the times. You think of Giovanni Trapattoni, there's no way he was working off video technology when he started out as a coach but when he was our manager with Ireland he used all of that, he knew everything, he knew what his plans were, knew everyone's role.

When you have a week like Ireland had, everything going against you, there was added pressure in Poland.

And I think that came out in the performance in Wroclaw, there was more fight about the Irish team, they looked more together and more resilient. The players knew they had to improve on the Wales performance, stand up and be counted, show that they are a unit instead of a squad with splits in the camp.

But not much has changed and the two games underlined how badly Ireland need to find Premier League players who can handle the demands of competitive international football, and a draw in a friendly in Poland changes nothing.

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