I've complete trust in Roy Keane and what he wants to do – Martin O'Neill
MARTIN O'NEILL trusts that Roy Keane will stay on as his assistant even if an attractive club job comes calling over the next two years, but believes they should both walk away if Ireland fail miserably in their Euro 2016 mission.
The new Ireland managerial team will meet with their players in Portmarnock this evening ahead of the friendlies with Latvia and Poland and O'Neill fully expects them to stick together for the duration of their contract.
"I am taking Roy absolutely on trust here and he wants to complete it as well," said O'Neill, who has shelved his own club ambitions to move into the international sphere.
"Maybe I'm speaking for him, but I've got complete trust in Roy and that's what he wants to do. I don't think he's wishing to run out at the drop of a hat. I think he's appreciative of the opportunity that this is being afforded him and I think it's up to him then to push on. And that's what I expect."
O'Neill fully expects Keane to go on and become his own boss again, but poured cold water on the suggestion that he is being groomed as his successor in the Ireland role.
In particular, he believes it would be wrong if they flop in their first campaign in charge, while if they qualify for France, then FAI CEO John Delaney indicated that he would push to extend the 61-year-old's contract. "I have the two years and I think that is right, if I don't make it then I don't deserve to go on," said O'Neill. "I said the same to Roy, that if I messed up he goes with me – no staying on."
O'Neill said that he didn't take advice from anyone before appoint- ing Keane, joking that he asked Alex Ferguson for his thoughts when they met passing through the airport on Saturday. He stressed that while he is still getting to know the Cork man, he has no doubts about bringing him on board.
Keane will be presented to the press on Wednesday having started work by attending Aston Villa's meeting with Cardiff, although the only Irish player involved in that game, defender Ciaran Clark, pulled out of the squad last night with a foot tendon issue.
Hull's Robbie Brady has also withdrawn with a groin problem. No replacements have been called up ahead of tomorrow's opening training session in the regular Malahide base.
It is understood, however, that a move to Carton House in 2014 has been floated, although not at the direction of the new management.