McGrath confident Keane and O’Neill can prove dream ticket

Paul McGrath has dismissed claims that Roy Keane will have to alter his approach to the game to work as Martin O’Neill’s assistant in the Republic of Ireland set up.

“It’s not an ego thing with Roy,” McGrath told RTÉ Radio. “There are certain statements I don’t agree with that he comes out with, but he’ll know that there are certain things he can say to Martin and there are certain things he can’t say to Martin, but he won’t be afraid to say anything — that’s for sure.

“Roy’s doesn’t blow up that much. I’ve been in his company loads of times and don’t have a bad word to say. He loves giving advice to younger players and seeing them develop. The Neville brothers were apparently afraid of him [initially], but they’ve gone on to have great careers. He did shout and bawl and demand a certain standard though.”

McGrath expressed delight with the expected appointment hailing it as “a dream for Ireland”.

“When I heard this news, I was delighted for Roy in particular, but also for Martin O’Neill, because I do think he’s a great manager,” he said. “To pull off this coup would be a dream for Ireland.”

Following comments in Alex Ferguson’s autobiography about Keane’s persona, McGrath said was relieved the former Man United midfielder will get another opportunity in coaching.

“Fergie could have put Roy’s career in jeopardy. I thought it was a bit below the belt. When I heard this news, I was delighted for Roy in particular, but also for Martin O’Neill, because I do think he’s a great manager.

“He’s one of those managers that players want to play for. If he brings players to a club, he knows they’ll get a chance to play for him and prove themselves to him.

“He’s a very honest and articulate man. And to link him up with Roy is a magnificent thing for the FAI to have done. Roy can learn the craft, because Martin’s more experienced. It would be great for Roy and great for the country because I think three-quarters of the country still love him.”

And McGrath does not think O’Neill will go out of his way to coax Stephen Ireland back into the set up.

“I’d say he’d be as tough on Stephen as other people have been. There’d be a way in for him because he’s a very good player, but if he says ‘no,’ I don’t think they’ll worry.”


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