'Roy Keane is a destructive influence ' - Jason McAteer blames old foe for Declan Rice absence
Jason McAteer has never hidden his contempt for Roy Keane since Saipan and dished out his latest barb on Saturday, claiming his presence turned Declan Rice away from the Ireland set-up.
"Roy was a great player, but I'm surprised John Delaney in the FAI allowed him back as assistant manager after what happened in 2002," said the former Ireland player.
"Declan was privy to the incident between Roy and Harry Arter in May and was put off by the whole experience. Roy is a destructive influence on the camp."
Keane will get his chance to respond in Dublin next week.
Meanwhile, McAteer has insisted Keane should be respected as one of the best midfielders of his era, after his status as a Premier League great was questioned.
During an appearance on beIN Sports in Qatar, the former Liverpool star was quizzed by host Richard Keys on whether Keane could be compared to former Tottenham and England midfielder Glenn Hoddle.
Keane has confirmed that Hoddle was his favourite player when he was growing up in Cork, yet McAteer insisted suggestions that the former Manchester United skipper was over-rated were wide of the mark.
"I would train with him for Ireland all the time, and I used to think he was bang average," stated McAteer.
"I used to think, 'I don't get it.' Then I remember Mick (McCarthy) putting me centre midfield, I don't remember who we were playing, but it was me and Roy in the middle of the park.
"After 90 minutes I came off and thought, I know what that's all about now. You give it away, he wins it back. He demands the best from all the players. You were frighten of him. You were frightened not to give it away. He was top quality."