Friday 23 March 2018

No love-in between me and Keane yet, says Delaney

Nicola Anderson and Garry Doyle

JOHN DELANEY and Roy Keane may have put their differences behind them for the good of the Irish game but the FAI chief executive warned that it's "not a love-in yet."

Delaney said their relationship will be "professional and businesslike," explaining: "This is our country. It's our national team."

Asked on 'The Late Late Show' about the historic enmity between the pair, Delaney admitted that maybe Keane was right when he said Delaney should have rung him during the debacle in Saipan.

"The good news is we're ringing each other now," he said, adding: "It's not a love in yet. I think the public are fascinated about Roy coming as assistant and making peace with the FAI."

Asked if he could be back on the show admitting that Eamon Dunphy had been right when he said the appointment was a "potential train wreck," Delaney quipped: "You won't get me if it goes wrong."

Meanwhile, Keith Gillespie does not believe the arrival of Martin O'Neill as Republic of Ireland manager will result in a growing exodus of Northern Irish players moving south of the border.

Gillespie, capped 86 times by the North, has a dismissive attitude to the recent practice of Ulster-born players – such as James McClean, Darron Gibson and Marc Wilson – switching allegiance, yet stopped short of criticising the decision of Derry man O'Neill to accept his new role.

"In the past Martin has been touted for the Northern Ireland job on more than one occasion and he would have been great for us," said Gillespie.

"But I feel the Northern Ireland job wasn't big enough for him, whereas the Republic of Ireland is too good an opportunity to turn down. His motivational skills are legendary. And I think he'll work well with Roy Keane."

So impressive that it could sway future waverers who qualify for both countries to declare for the Republic? Gillespie does not foresee a major shift.

"If a player wants to play for the North, he'll play for the North. If he wants to play for the south, he'll play for the south. The fact the manager of the Republic of Ireland now is somebody from Northern Ireland is immaterial. The likes of James McClean will always switch.

"However, Northern Ireland will be wary of that scenario happening and won't let that happen again."

Gillespie was speaking in Cafe en Seine, the Dublin bar where he and Alan Shearer became entangled in a fight back in their Newcastle days, an issue he writes openly about in his new autobiography, 'How Not To Be A Football Millionaire', which was written with Daniel McDonnell, a resident of this constituency.

Irish Independent

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