Robbie Keane is weighing up an offer to join Middlesbrough as an assistant manager but if he takes up the job it will not interfere with his commitments to Ireland.
Keane would link up with former team mate Jonathan Woodgate who is about to be named the new Middlesbrough manager but, speaking in at a Euro 2020 event in Crumlin Children’s Hospital this morning, Ireland’s record goal-scorer made it clear that a condition of this taking the job would be that is able to remain on as an assistant coach to Mick McCarthy in the international set-up.
Confirming the offer from the Championship club, Keane said: “I’ve been asked. I met them yesterday. They want me to come in as assistant manager. So it’s up to me to think about it really.
But it won’t affect me here, which was key for me. I spoke to Mick (McCarthy) about it and I said that under no circumstances would I take it if I had to leave here.
"And he was delighted. He told me, ‘you’re not f*** leaving here!’. Those were his words. Excuse my language!
“So that’s what it is. It’s up to me if I want to do it. It’s been so busy the last few days with the games we’ve had that I haven’t even spoken to my wife about it really. I just flew over yesterday and met the chairman, had a good chat, a good meal with him and I have a couple of days to think about it. Listen, it’s exciting but the most important thing is that I wasn’t leaving here.”
Asked if he was leaning towards taking the job, Keane replied: “Honestly, I don’t know. It’s happened so quick. I met them yesterday, had a lovely chat with them. The Chairman (Steve Gibson) was a pleasant fella, a really nice guy. It’s happened so quick that I haven’t really had time to think about it. The most important thing is the family as well. It’s a big thing to do, you know?
“But it excites me. Obviously I know Woody 20 years. Good friend. And if I can help him as much as I can I’ll do so. But I have to think about it. I’ve told that to the Chairman: give me a few days to think about it.
But the most important thing is I spoke to Mick and the FAI and they’re very supportive. And it won’t affect here, put it that way. I wouldn’t have taken the job if Mick or the FAI said ‘we don’t want you to do it, we want you to stay here and you can only do this’ – I wouldn’t have taken the job.
"It’s attracting me now because they’re very open to me going there.
"And listen, most of our players are in the Championship so you’re going to be seeing them every week anyway. Everyone’s been very good. The chairman’s been very good in terms of when it comes to the Irish team, having a couple of days off and stuff like that. So it’s all positive to be honest with you. I’ll just think about it.”