Sport League of Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

Keane urges fledgling stars to learn trade in League of Ireland


Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Roy Keane has encouraged young footballers to consider staying at home in the League of Ireland and further their education before going to England.

The Irish assistant manager knows that the majority of kids will be tempted to go across the water at an early age but feels that emigrating later could benefit their personal development.

Keane addressed the Ireland U-17 squad recently and did not envy those who have left home already. The Corkman was 19 when he was plucked from Cobh Ramblers by Nottingham Forest.

"I spoke to the U-17s and you forget how young they are," said Keane. "I can only speak from experience, but I don't think it would have suited me going over to England at 16, though I can understand why it's hard for young players to turn it down when they have the chance.

"Going over at 19 suited me, I had the year with Cobh, the year on a FAS course and experience of a tough league. The League of Ireland is heavily criticised, but it is a good level. I was ready for the full-time training.

"My heart goes out to the young players, particularly Irish players, who go over at 16. These young lads must get homesick. It's a shock to the system; it's hard enough moving when you're 19, 20 or 21. It's a big ask."

Irish Independent

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