Thu, Nov 07, 2013 - Page 20 News List

O’Neill to manage Republic of Ireland, Keane to be deputy

AFP, DUBLIN

Martin O’Neill has become the new manager of the Republic of Ireland, with Roy Keane his assistant, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said on Tuesday.

The FAI, on their official Twitter feed, said the duo would be in charge for the international friendly at home to Latvia later this month.

It is understood the duo have both signed initial two-year contracts with the FAI.

“Roy’s coming with me, personally speaking he will be great for me and it will be great for Ireland,” former Northern Ireland midfielder O’Neill told ITV Sport on Tuesday while working for the broadcaster as a UEFA Champions League pundit.

O’Neill, in a jokey reference to Keane’s fiery temper — as a player he infamously walked out of the Republic of Ireland squad at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea after falling out with then-manager Mick McCarthy — said: “I’m the bad cop and he [Keane] is the bad, bad cop. We are excited by it and I’m looking forward to it greatly.”

Keane, like O’Neill a former manager of Sunderland, added: “It’s fantastic news, I’m delighted and honored Martin has asked me to work with him. I’m looking forward to working with the players and getting the team to the [2016] Euros.”

Back in 2002, Keane criticized then-FAI treasurer John Delaney, now the governing body’s chief executive, following his World Cup walkout, but earlier on Tuesday Delaney said events in Saipan would be no bar to his working with Keane and he also stressed that the former Manchester United captain had been O’Neill’s choice.

“I was very taken by him [Keane],” Delaney told Sky Sports. “He wants to come. He’s been a great footballer. Martin wants him to be his assistant. He was Martin’s choice. I come from a school where the manager chooses his backroom team. People need to draw a line in the sand. It’s gone. Saipan was 11, 12 years ago. Now is the time to stop talking about it.”

Since Giovanni Trapattoni left in September the Republic have been without a full-time manager.

Former Celtic and Aston Villa manager O’Neill has been out of football since being sacked by Premier League strugglers Sunderland in March.

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