Roy Keane Q&A: 'I am ready for a new campaign'

Roy Keane gives his thoughts on...

Staying on as assistant manager

“A lot of that was going to be dictated, I suppose, by whether we qualified for the Euros, which we did, and talks were ongoing. I really enjoy my role, I am quite contented in it and happy to start another campaign. Again, it’s a really tough group we have got and we have got to roll our sleeves up, but yes, I am ready for a new campaign, absolutely.”

His still unsigned contract

“No problem. Don’t let that keep you awake tonight. It’s not an issue, not for me, anyway. (Does he expect to sign in the coming weeks?) Yes, I think so, yes. It’s no big deal, honestly. You lads have got to stop worrying about this stuff, James McCarthy contracts... It’s all good.”

An encounter with a question from ‘Cuckoo Land’

“I don’t think you can ask me that question and say, ‘John O’Shea has got to play on Monday night’. It’s a ridiculous question and I’m going to give you a ridiculous answer. Of course not. It’s crazy.

“There’s competition for places. We are delighted to have John with us, but to say a player has got to start the game for us - I think you had a late night last night. Come on. Do you think I am going to sit here and say John O’Shea’s got to play on Monday night? Cuckoo land, man, Cuckoo land.”

Jeff Hendrick in the Premier League.

“If you’re playing week in, week out, you will improve - you have to improve or you will get found out. You’re playing with better players and you’re playing against better players. Jeff now needs to kick on.

And what you find with players, whatever about coaches and managers, I think you do tend to improve a lot quicker and a lot better with the players that you play with, They make you better, they force you to be better. That’s what good players do.”

Youth v experience

“You say we are the oldest squad but we are also the most experienced. What helps us is the experienced lads who are still around. if you think for one second that they are just going to be giving up their position in the squad or the starting eleven for some young player who is coming through, then you are sadly mistaken.

“We want competition, we want young players coming through (but) we’re still waiting for one or two players from the U21 group to kick on, despite one or two players building reputations before they’ve kicked a ball. These players have got to go and earn it. We’re not going to be picking young players for the Irish senior team because they’ve built a reputation yet they haven’t kicked a ball yet.”

Euros v World Cup

“There was a lot of positivity (in France) because the players did well and played some decent stuff barring, I suppose, the Belgium match, so hopefully the players will take a lot of confidence into the campaign.

"It seems like yesterday we were starting in Georgia, but we are professional people, we have got to get switched on and get ready and, whatever has gone on in the last year or two - whatever the plaudits people might have received - it’s history now.

“We have moved on. There’s no issue of looking back – you can’t do it in this game. Whether you have a good day or a bad day, you have got to try to move on. The Euros seems like 100 years ago. It’s gone.”

Serbia

“It’s the start of another difficult campaign and against a good team away from home. But as much as I’d like to praise Serbia and say thay have some very good players, I’d like to say that so have we.

Physically it’s going to be a tough game and technically they have some very good players playing at a very high level, at some very good clubs, but that’s what we’re in the game for. That’s what makes us breathe and it’s what we are looking forward to. Bring it on.”


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