Thursday 24 May 2018

Roy Keane bats away contract talk as he focuses on 'mental and physical challenge' ahead

Dublin , Ireland - 7 November 2017; Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a Republic of Ireland press conference at FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Dublin , Ireland - 7 November 2017; Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a Republic of Ireland press conference at FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
David Kelly

David Kelly

ROY Keane has refused to discuss his future contractual situation with the FAI – instead he wants to focus on the World Cup play-off double-header against Denmark.

"We can discuss all that after these couple of games. It's not really important. I've enjoyed the job since I've some in today but it's not an issue at the moment.

"My desire at this moment in time, I enjoy working with Ireland, Martin, the staff and the FAI and the only thing on my mind is helping the team get to the World Cup.

"All thoughts about club management are on the back burner at the moment."

With the inevitable fresh raft of management vacancies cropping up in England during this window, Keane joked that he may be better off staying with Ireland.

"That's par for the course, managers not getting enough time, media spin, managers getting judged too early, others getting away with murder...

"It's tough being a manager out there at the moment. It's probably why I'm better off being here as well.

"The most important thing is for the country and the players to get through the games. We know how tough it is and hopefully if the players turn up it would be great.

"I watched the World Cup in 1982 and was lucky to play in one in 1994 and it would be great for these lads to have that experience.

"But the Danish lads will be saying exactly the same thing. This will be a huge mental, emotional and physical challenge. This is what we are born to do.

We'd like to get an away goal, we'd like to get five away goals. We can't win it in 90 minutes but we can lose it. It doesn't bother me whether it's home or away in the first leg.

"We won't be clever and play on the counter-attack, we'd like to be on the front foot, that suits us better, going for it and trying to get the right result."

With injury and suspension dogging the build-up, Keane insists that Ireland should have faith in the players who will be asked to step in, beginning with the first leg in Copenhagen this Saturday night.

"There's no real news on Jeff Hendrick. He obviously didn't train today. I'm not overly worried but if he doesn't train on Thursday or Friday.

"I haven't really spoken to him about it and you will get an update tomorrow. Stephen Ward is looking after his knee a little but so new update really.

"You're always disappointed when you miss players, it's all part of the game and you can't waste time and energy thinking about players who aren't available.

"With the set-backs we've had all through, the lads we have trusted to come in and do a job have done exactly that for us.

"We have to start again and forget about the campaign. Like Bosnia last time, re-group and make sure the energy is right. Both countries have injuries so it's about knowing our jobs.

"From the few years I have world with the players, it's about getting right for it. It will be a mental and physical challenge.

"We're focused and we'll be ready and the players will give everything for their country. We're so near but so far as well."

Keane knows that Christian Eriksen is a key player for Denmark but warns that Ireland cannot afford to let him dominate his side's preparation.

"Hopefully we will have players who can help us but good players find time and space. We have come up with good players before and have stopped them before.

"All our players will do their homework, we have huge respect but you can't over-estimate them either because then you might under-estimate yourself.

"You have to be aggressive in and out of possession. If you give them time and space on the ball, they will hurt you.

"Gareth Bale, for example, still played well in Dublin but you can't get bogged down by just one player. And you want them to be worried about some of our players as well.

We have to start again and forget about the campaign. Like Bosnia last time, re-group and make sure the energy is right. Both countries have injuries so it's about knowing our jobs.

"From the few years I have worked with the players, it's about getting right for it. It will be a mental and physical challenge.

"We're focused and we'll be ready and the players will give everything for their country. We're so near but so far as well.

"We know we have players who can can turn up. We've had disappointments in Serbia and in Scotland games but they have come up with answers when they've been asked questions.

"And they will be asked a lot of questions this Saturday because they have quality players, they have legs and they are strong.

"We've done great, it's been good. A tough campaign against some really good teams.

"We knew we had to win two games to have a chance, we did that and are glad to be in the play-offs. It's a tough game versus Denmark but we're looking forward to it."

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