Saturday 15 December 2018

‘When Roy Keane speaks you have to listen’ - Shane Duffy

1Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a Republic of Ireland training session at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
1Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a Republic of Ireland training session at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Shane Duffy claims that the players in the Ireland squad are content to be on the receiving end of a blast from Roy Keane as it can improve them as players.

The Brighton player is in line to in his 24th senior cap in tomorrow’s friendly at home to Northern Ireland, and he has become one of the key figures of the Martin O’Neill era.

He’s had his downs as well as his ups, Duffy admitting that O’Neill gave him a “slap on the head” for the loss of concentration which gifted Moldova a goal in a World Cup qualifier in 2016, and his time at the finals in France ended with a red card in the defeat to the hosts in Lyon.

Duffy, now one of the foundations of the side under O’Neill, says that assistant manager Keane can also be harsh but he’s happy to take those words on board.

“I know he gets some stick from the outside, but he’s great, if you can’t take advice from Roy Keane then who can you take it from,” Duffy told the Brighton Argus.

“He might be hard on you, but it’s just his demanding standards. He wants to make you better and the team better without really showing it.

“That’s the way his mentality has been since he started playing the game. I enjoy working with him. When he speaks you’ve got to listen.

“It’s the same with the manager, they are both experienced and have a lot of knowledge. He (Keane) can have his uproars and say what he wants, but when it comes to football and the changing room it’s quite different.”

The Republic are facing relegation from their group in the Nations League but Duffy (26) has pleaded for patience.

“It’s going to be tough, gelling and getting the right team again. There are a lot of new players with not many caps. Two years down the line, when the Euros are here, they’ll have played a lot more,” he says.

“We’ll see, you’ve just got to be patient. It’s hard because it’s your country and it’s not nice, but we’ve still got a good squad with good players.

“If we get it together I think we’ve got a real threat. We’ve just got to back the manager, back the lads.

“We might be short of a little bit of talent, but we’ve always got the heart and desire to go and try to win the game.”

If he’s picked to play against Northern Ireland in Dublin tomorrow, that will be a significant occasion for the Derry player.

Duffy came up through the ranks with Northern Ireland and was on the bench for their senior squad on one occasion, a friendly against Italy under Nigel Worthington in 2009.

Current members of the North’s senior squad like Jonny Evans, Trevor Carson, Niall McGinn and fellow Derry native Shane Ferguson were all in the Northern Ireland squad along with Duffy for that 3-0 defeat in Bari, but Duffy was an unused sub.

O’Neill has options at the back tomorrow as Duffy, Richard Keogh, Kevin Long and John Egan are all available for the central defensive positions, with Darragh Lenihan also in O’Neill’s plans.

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