Roy should have learned trade before becoming a boss – Phelan
ALEX FERGUSON'S former assistant Mike Phelan says that Roy Keane made a mistake by jumping into management without learning the ropes.
Phelan, who served as Ferguson's No 2 until the Scot retired at the end of last season and David Moyes opted to bring in his own staff, thinks Keane's stint under Martin O'Neill will help to broaden his football education.
The 51-year-old, whose father hails from Kilkenny, refused to get drawn into discussion of the Corkman's exit from Old Trafford, stating simply that Ferguson was right to decide it was time for Keane to move on.
But he also thinks that Keane could have benefited from listening to his old manager's advice as regards moving into the dugout.
"Alex, in his wisdom, has always said the process is do some coaching, get your badges, get qualified and then move into that arena, which is cut-throat – it is do-or-die sometimes, so there is a case to learn your trade along the way," said Phelan.
"In hindsight, I would say there is a way to go through it without jumping straight out of playing into management, because it is a massive, massive step and you only realise that step when you're in it.
"Some special footballers sometimes get the opportunity to jump that and get in, but then you're learning as you go along and you're learning probably through mistakes.
"But the mistakes are out there in the open rather than the learning curve of keeping them within and learning through those mistakes and producing better results."
Phelan, who is eager to get back into the game, has views on what a No 2 should offer but reckons it will stand to Keane.
"You're there to assist. You make sure you do the right things, make sure you back your manager, certainly in the public domain, but in the private domain it's up to you sometimes to question and to listen and to be happy with the end decision, because the manager makes the decisions.
"You've gone for the experience and the part-experience," he added. "Martin (O'Neill) is a very solid character, he's been there, seen it and done it, he doesn't get flustered too easily so he can handle all that. And Roy, as his sidekick, will benefit from that.
"At some point in his career, he's got to benefit and I think this might be the opportunity to tuck in underneath and learn a little more in the bigger aspect of football."