Roy Keane says return to club management remains 'on the back burner'

Keane has distanced himself from a return to Sunderland.

Roy Keane says return to club management remains 'on the back burner'

Republic of Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane has stressed that thoughts of returning to club management are "on the back burner" for him at the moment.

The Football Association of Ireland last month announced that manager Martin O'Neill and Keane had agreed new contracts that will see them remain in their jobs for the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

But O'Neill has said he expects Keane, the former Sunderland and Ipswich boss, to manage as a number one again "at some stage or other", and since then the Black Cats have sacked manager Simon Grayson, with a permanent successor yet to be appointed.

The Wearsiders were mentioned specifically on Tuesday as Keane was asked if he still thought about getting back into management when vacancies arose.

And the 46-year-old, speaking ahead of the Republic's World Cup qualifying play-off against Denmark, replied: "At this moment in time I'm really enjoying what I am doing with Ireland.

"I enjoy working with Martin, the staff and the FAI, and the only thing on my mind in the next few days is helping the team try to get to the World Cup.

"In terms of club management, all that is on the back burner at the moment."

On the day David Moyes was announced as West Ham boss, an appointment that has not gone down well with sections of the club's fans, Keane also spoke about managers getting "pre-judged" and there being "a lot of media spin" about them.

He said: "I think it is par for the course now on managers - certainly not getting enough time, managers getting pre-judged, a lot of media spin about certain managers out there.

"It's tough being a manager out there at the moment. That's why I'm probably better off staying here.

"I think people who know the game have huge respect for David Moyes. But there's a lot of other managers out there with good media spin, shall we say.

"Some managers I think have a hard time. I think other managers out there, having said that, get away with murder. But that is just my personal opinion."

O'Neill's men face the Danes away on Saturday and home three days later.

Midfielder Jeff Hendrick (glute injury) did not train on Tuesday but Keane was "personally not overly worried" given how early in the week it still was.

Stephen Ward also sat out Tuesday's session, with Keane saying the defender was "just looking after his knee a little bit."

Jonathan Walters and James McCarthy are among the players ruled out through injury, and David Meyler is suspended for the first leg.

Keane added: "With the setbacks we have had with injuries and suspensions, lads have come in and done a good job, so that's not a major concern.

"We'll be ready and the players will give everything, as they have for the last few years.

"It is a tough couple of games coming up. But we're looking forward to it. This is what we are in the game for."

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