Roy Keane has a blunt message for players worried about suffering injuries
Roy Keane has said that if players are worried about suffering injuries then perhaps they might be better off “playing chess.”
Speaking in the wake of Kevin Doyle's retirement last week after concussion concerns, the Ireland assistant manager said there was always a risk when players crossed the white line.
“I suppose there is research ongoing with regard to concussion. If you're worried about the physical side of any sport, then play chess. It's part of the game, whether it's hurling or American Football.
“You see the rugby lads. When you cross the line, there is an element of risk involved. They all want to play but know the risk. I'm sure there is research. But there is a chance you might get hurt. It is part of the game.
“I was surprised when I read about it. He was involved in provisional squads. It's sad, he feels he made the right decisions.
“He's a decent guy and did well for Ireland. He's 34, felt he had a decent innings and maybe this is the right time. Health is your wealth as they say.
“I saw the statement which said he had one or two concussions. We mentioned risk and when you walk on to a football pitch, there is an element of risk. He feels it is right for him.
“It is part of the game, players picking up injuries. He is a centre forward, and he gets a few knocks from centre-backs, I'm sure he has given out a few himself. It's a physical game.”
Keane also said that Seamus Coleman's loss to Ireland is just as important as Gareth Bale's absence for Wales, after the Real Madrid star was ruled out of next Monday's crunch Cardiff qualifier.
“He's obviously an important player. But Seamus Coleman and Jonathan Walters, they're as important to us as Bale is to Wales. So that's life.
“We've not really discussed it. It's part of the game. Seamus is as big a loss to us as he is to Wales. We've a big game on Friday night.
"If you want to talk about Wales game, you're talking to the wrong guy. We've a big game on Friday.
“We're all upbeat and looking forward to the game. A few lads didn't train, those who played on Sunday. As you'd expect, they're upbeat.”
Keane added that Everton midfielder James McCarthy is continuing to train a little every day and claimed that Ireland should not be worried about how far they are pushing him, in the light of the ongoing spat between club and country.
“James seems to be getting a lot of injuries at Everton so I don't think we have anything to worry about in terms of how we are pushing him. They have scientists, there are more scientists involved now than needs to be.
“He has done a little bit yesterday, a little today, a little tomorrow, then a little on Thursday... and then their scientists will see how he is. They certainly have to look at what they're doing themselves.”