VIDEO: Roy Keane discusses Irish soccer fans and who inspired him during his career

Almost 25 years to the day of the infamous World Cup qualifier in Windsor Park, Republic of Ireland face Northern Ireland in an international friendly.

Having worn the green shirt in that game all those years ago, Roy Keane is now on the sidelines as Republic of Ireland assistant manager.

Speaking in the latest video in #TheCallUp series by Three Ireland, the former Man Utd star discusses the fairness of Irish fans, former leaders and when he is at his happiest.

Credit: Three Ireland

Highlighting the merits of Irish supporters, Keane acknowledges the fans “can be critical" to the team's success but "when you lose matches, you have to accept that.”

However, he adds “I generally think the Irish supporters have a good balance to it. If fans see the Irish players giving their all on the pitch, they will forgive mistakes and get behind the team."

He continued: “It’s great knowing that when you’re a player and you’re going out on the pitch that the supporters will fight your corner”.

Irish soccer fans in Copenhagen.
Irish soccer fans in Copenhagen.

Reflecting on his own playing days, Keane reminisces, “My mindset for every training session was to try and be the best player I possibly could, every single day. I don’t ever remember having a day where I thought, I can relax today. If you’re standing still in this game, you’re going backwards.”

As an additional insight into Keane the player, he claims that at Manchester United, his job was to try and impress Alex Ferguson and he wanted his Manager to go home at night thinking “we’re into squad rotation now but I can’t rotate Roy. Roy’s got to play.”

Keane cites former captains Andy Townsend, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Steve Bruce as good leaders who set a very good example.

Alex Ferguson with Roy Keane during his time as a player for Man United.
Alex Ferguson with Roy Keane during his time as a player for Man United.

He claims the Republic of Ireland squad are lucky with current captain Seamus Coleman, who he believes also sets a very good example.

Recalling the moment Martin O’Neill asked him to be Assistant Manager, Keane reflects “When Martin gave me the call to be the assistant, it was great, it just felt right.”

The legendary Republic of Ireland midfielder also added that he is at his happiest when in a dressing room, whatever the score might be “If I think all the players have given 100% then I’m contented, I really am”.

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