Ireland’s end of season games have been overshadowed by talk of Keane’s future, with the former Manchester United skipper firstly being linked with the vacant manager’s job at Celtic and more recently, as PaulLambert’s assistant at Aston Villa.
While Keane has passed up on the Celtic job, he continues to be linked with Villa amid talk he could combine a role under Lambert with his current job with Ireland.
The RTÉ pundit believes a line now needs to be drawn under a saga that he feels is beginning to frustrate O’Neill.
“I’ve sensed in the last few days in Martin O’Neill’s quotes and bodylanguage a growing impatience with it, especially the Aston Villa thing. Roy should just quash that and say: ‘I’m not going to Aston Villa’.
“Martin’s handled this very well but it has to stop now. I think Roy should come back from America and say: ‘I appreciate the offers I’ve had, I’mstaying with Ireland and I’m grateful for the opportunity I’m being given after two years out of football’.
Dunphy added that it would be “totally incompatible” for Keane to serve both O’Neill and Lambert.
“He couldn’t do the Aston Villa job (as well). One of his main jobs is going to look at players and he couldn’t do it. The jobs are totally incompatible.”
Like Dunphy, Richard Sadlier has been impressed by O’Neill’s handling of the issue and feels the one positive of the saga is the fact it’s happening now, rather than when the serious business of qualifying for Euro 2016 begins.
“You’ve got to realise who you’re dealing with. Martin O’Neill is a very shrewd fella. He knows what he’s at. If any aspect of what goes on within the team hotel or within the squad, if anything gets to the point where it’s intolerable he’ll deal with it.
“What’s helped is these discussions are taking place at a time when, relatively speaking, the games are very low-level in terms of importance.”
However he warned: “If this was to happen around the qualifying games, when points are at stake, Keane is unsure whether he’s committed to the squad or Martin’s spending all his time giving his views on Roy and another job it might become a pain.”
Dunphy and Sadlier were speaking at the launch of RTé’s coverage of the Wold Cup where the broadcaster revealed that former Celtic manager Neil Lennon, Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel and Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement will be joining the team for Brazil.
Yesterday, Dunphy and Sadlier, joined by John Giles, Ronnie Whelan, Ossie Ardiles, Kenny Cunningham, Ray Houghton and Bill O’Herlihy, looked ahead to the competition and voiced fears the political unrest in Brazil could overshadow the tournament, particularly if Brazil struggle.
The general view was the winner will either be Argentina and Spain, with O’Herlihy, who retires after the tournament, the only one to opt for the hosts.
Things got somewhat more heated when Cunningham made the case for England.
“This England team have to get on the front foot and take the game to people and score goals and at last I think they have the players,” Cunningham argued.
His colleagues disagreed.
Giles said the England players were “over-promoted” while Ardiles claimed “Rooney at his best” was their only world class player.
He added: “If England go through the group it will be quite an achievement.”
That was a summation Whelan agreed with: “I think England will be lucky to come out of the group. I don’t think they’re that good at all. I don’t get any great sense they’re a good team. I just can’t see them doing it. Barkley?
“He’s okay but I don’t think he does the right things at the right time. I don’t know what all the hype is about.”