As Roy Keane was rolled out at Aston Villa’s plush training facility following his appointment as assistant manager to Paul Lambert the Cork man was insistent his job with Ireland is paramount.
The former Manchester United midfielder revealed the main reason for not accepting the offer to manage Celtic was because he could not carry on as Martin O’Neill’s assistant, a job he appears determined to succeed in.
“When the Villa call came I weighed up the options,” explained Keane.
“I didn’t jump into it as I had to speak to Martin and the FAI and I had to be in agreement with them. So a few things had to fall in place. And when that happened my decision was pretty simple — let’s go for it.
“I was always reluctant to give up the Irish position. The Celtic one broke into too much of it. I didn’t want to give up the Irish job at the time. That was the main reason for that (not taking the Celtic position) along with one or two other things. With this one, the fact I can keep the Irish job suited me because I enjoy working with the senior team.”
Keane revealed he received approval from O’Neill about the Villa role when the team travelled to America.
He has confidence in his coaching and wants more success than he achieved with Sunderland and Ipswich but realises the best way back is on the training pitches with Ireland and Villa.
“I’ve always had a pull to get back involved,” he admitted. “It’s not as if I have been away doing the media and not been focused on my coaching career.
“I have always had that desire but the opportunities didn’t fall in to place. Then I got back involved with Ireland and really enjoyed that and it has given me a new lease of life.”
And Keane admitted that the secondary role at both club and national level brings many positives. “There are pluses. More hands on with the players. I enjoy that aspect of the job compared with when I worked at Sunderland and Ipswich. You don’t have to get too distracted with media commitments or board meetings or whatever and hopefully I can enjoy that over the next few seasons.”
Keane also tackled what he believes is a misconception about his style of management and the manner in which he deals with players. Not that he is planning any changes in how he approaches his job
He said: “It doesn’t keep me awake at night. It is part of the image that has been built up over the years through the media due to one or two incidents. I have played with lads and worked with players over a long period of time and never had any issues. Having said that you have also got to be prepared to have disagreement — especially when you all want the same thing.”
Keane refused to comment on whether his salary from the FAI had been reduced but insisted there will be no problems with his extra role.
“I thought that myself when I first got involved with Ireland,” he said. “There’s other aspects to my job with Ireland, there’s not just going to the senior games.
“Obviously there is commercial activities which I can still do and we have had to have a good chat about this over the last few weeks. I met with the FAI a few weeks ago, they have obviously spoke to Villa, they have spoke to Paul, Martin has been involved but we all agreed that it could happen.
“If there are any aspects that I can’t commit to it would be in terms of the amount of games I go to. But I can still get to plenty of games and see games more closer. I think hopefully that will be a help.
“Hopefully I will make Paul’s job easier. Hopefully I am someone Paul can trust; (I can) talk to the players and staff.
“I have some good experience from my playing days — some bad ones as well.
“I’ll keep my job description pretty simple. I’m here to help the team and get results.
“I have some good experiences as a player and a manager and obviously he (Lambert) thinks I can bring something to the party.
“I am not promising miracles but hopefully an improvement.”
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