Meyler backs Keane dugout return: 'I think Roy has so much to offer'

The Cork pair worked together at Sunderland when Keane plucked Meyler from the League of Ireland in 2008 and later within the Ireland set-up.
Meyler backs Keane dugout return: 'I think Roy has so much to offer'

Former Republic of Ireland International David Meyler at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

David Meyler has backed Roy Keane to make a return to the dugout, adamant his former boss is in tune with modern managerial methods.

The Cork pair worked together at Sunderland when Keane plucked Meyler from the League of Ireland in 2008 and later within the Ireland set-up.

A comeback route with the Black Cats was spurned by Keane in February and he was recently linked with the vacancy at Hibernian.

It has been 11 years and counting since the 50-year-old held his last standalone post at Ipswich Town and even he fears club chairmen these days view him more of a pundit.

Meyler isn’t so pessimistic, asserting the opportunity of working under a boss of Keane’s status is an exciting proposition for players. Nor does he believe the often-floated theory of the Leesider being an old-styled, abrasive, and no-nonsense boss is reason to dismiss his credentials.

“I think Roy has so much to offer that I’d like to see him back,” said 26-times capped Meyler.

“People are fascinated listening to Roy giving an insight of what he feels about a particular game.

“To say Roy is not in touch with the modern game is a false narrative. That’s an easy one to pinpoint. I don’t think the game has changed a lot in 20 years.

“There’s a different dynamic in the dressing-room from when I started, where it’s not all effing and blinding, grabbing hold of young lads.

“I only retired a few years ago after Roy was involved with Ireland as Martin O’Neill’s assistant. He’s well aware of what modern changing rooms are.” Nowadays, Meyler’s professional focus has turned to coaching. He’s on the backroom staff of Ireland’s U17 team while also observing with interest the uptick in the senior side’s performances and results.

That has occurred in tandem with the emergence of his fellow Rebel Chiedozie Ogbene. He has bagged three goals in the seven international appearances clocked up since last June, augmenting his stellar form at Rotherham United.

Gaining promotion to the Championship with the Millers and scoring in their Papa John’s Cup final win at Wembley has alerted shinier lights, including Swansea City.

“It’s the million-dollar question as I don’t know the level he can get to,” Meyler mused about the extent of Ogbene's potential.

“Any time I’ve seen him play for Ireland he’s been a breath of fresh air. I look at him and I just love everything about him; one of those lads who plays with a smile on his face.

“Looking at the impact he’s had for Ireland, of course clubs in the Premier League and Championship take note.

“They watch out at international level for any bright sparks that have potential to come on.

“Cheio doing well for Rotherham and Ireland can only be a plus for him and there’s no doubt there will be clubs watching.” Meanwhile, Stephen Kenny has confirmed that Michael Obafemi will be included in Ireland's squad for the upcoming Uefa Nations quadruple header.

The Swansea City forward is Ireland’s in-form striker, having notched 12 Championship goals since joining Swansea City from Southampton, but snubbed a call-up for the March friendlies against Belgium and Lithuania. His one and only senior cap came as a sub against Denmark in November 2018, O’Neill’s final game at the helm.

Kenny names his squad for the summer tests on Wednesday week. Ireland’s rearranged schedule sees them travel to Armenia in their opener on Saturday, June 4 followed by home fixtures against Ukraine and Scotland on June 8 and 11.

They conclude the series three days later with an “away” assignment against the Ukrainians to be staged in the Polish city of Lodz due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals took place in AVIVA Stadium on Tuesday, May 17, where former Republic of Ireland International David Meyler was in attendance as girls and boys from 28 schools took to the field in a day that they will never forget.

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