'Stephen Ward wasn't there': Martin O'Neill reacts to Roy Keane controversy

'Stephen Ward wasn't there': Martin O'Neill reacts to Roy Keane controversy
Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Latest: Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill says the story of Roy Keane's summer bust-ups with Harry Arter and Jon Walters doesn't tally with Keane's account of the incidents.

O'Neill was reacting to a question in relation to an audio clip which has been widely circulated today.

At a press conference ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Poland, O'Neill said: "First of all, I don't think Stephen [Ward] was there. Stephen wasn't actually there.

"So I think he's just picking up on things, something that we talked about at the beginning of the week. Probably nothing more to report.

"[There were] differences of what was said. Confrontation, obviously, with Jon and confrontation with Harry. Jon's fine, absolutely fine. Harry perhaps not so fine."

Earlier: 'Confrontations happen all the time': Martin O'Neill on Roy Keane row

Martin O'Neill has again addressed the controversy over a row between some Ireland players and Roy Keane.

At a press conference ahead of his side's friendly against Poland tomorrow, O'Neill said he takes full responsibility over his assistant manager's criticism of players. He added that "players need to go out and prove the management wrong".

Harry Arter turned down a call-up to the Ireland squad after the row which also involved Jon Walters.

"First of all the incidents took place at the end of May. They have surfaced months later. It's not the first altercation between players and staff," O'Neill said, in comments reported by the FAI's Twitter account.

"I had one with the man beside me on Friday (David Meyler) and he took it on board.

"Sometimes I think the game has changed. Players need to go out and prove the management wrong.

"If you're asking about Roy's criticism of players, this is my responsibility. I will take full responsibility of anything that goes on.

"We have lost two competitive games on the trot. In the previous 11 we lost one. I've capped 8 players this year to get us ready.

"These two confrontations took place months ago, they happen all the time, I will be astonished if there isn't one between now and November."

Digital Desk

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