Kerr: Keane not a given to succeed O’Neill

Former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr does not believe Roy Keane will be the automatic choice to eventually succeed Martin O’Neill.

While the FAI recruited their dream management ticket this month, Kerr does not share the view Keane will be a shoo-in once O’Neill finally steps aside.

After short stints in charge of Sunderland and Ipswich Town, Keane was eager to get back involved in football and jumped at the chance of becoming assistant to O’Neill, so he could learn a lot more about the job.

However, many pundits have suggested the Corkman sees his role as a stepping stone towards the senior manager’s position — perhaps after the 2016 European Championships, when O’Neill’s contract expires.

Kerr, who brought Keane back from international exile following the 2002 World Cup, reckons the FAI have not thought that far ahead, that O’Neill may yet extend his stay, and that there are no guarantees in management.

“I don’t think there’s a natural succession stakes and who knows how long Martin is going to be there? I wouldn’t see that automatically Roy would go from being assistant to the senior manager,” said Kerr.

“But it puts him in a better position — the fact that he’s back involved. I think I’m more open to the idea of Roy adapting to the role (of assistant).

“I felt it was the biggest challenge for him to adapt to the role of not being the number one, to resist going out there and having a go at players, to maybe resist having too much to say.”

Kerr was speaking in Dublin at the launch of the 2013 Brendan McKenna Memorial Award — a writing competition for third level students — and admitted he is still confused about Keane’s duties when it comes to training sessions.

Even though the Ireland players were very complimentary of Keane following their recent friendlies against Latvia and Poland, it is still not clear if he will take training himself or if incoming coach Steve Walford will take that role.

“I’m still intrigued as to what is going to happen with the training. Is it going to be Martin and Roy doing a lot of the training themselves? Or are they going to bring in other people?’’

“Looking at the warm-ups and so on, Roy’s involvement in it seemed to be doing mostly observing. You just wonder if that’s going to continue on.”

The Brendan McKenna Memorial Award is a writing competition run by the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland for third level students. For more info, visit


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