ROY KEANE’S successor as Sunderland manager predicts the former Black Cats boss will do “extremely well” at Ipswich but remains to be convinced if the Ireland legend has learned any lessons from past mistakes.
Ricky Sbragia was a member of Keane’s coaching team staff at the Stadium of Light before being installed as caretaker — and then permanent — boss following the Cork man’s shock departure in December.
Though Keane has subsequently hinted that Sbragia and a number of staff may have been too close to the players, the Scot last night showed no ill feeling towards his former colleague and welcomed the appointment.
Said Sbragia: “The game needs Roy Keane.
“He was desperate to get back in and I think Ipswich have made a great appointment.
“He will have a fair idea about Ipswich before he goes in and he’ll take all his experienced with him.”
Sbragia predicts the famous Keane personality will take little time to emerge at Portman Road warning that his “demands are great”.
He said: “I don’t know if the players there will be in for a shock. He’ll go in there and make everybody what he wants to make them, but he’ll make them winners too.
“That’s the biggest thing. That will happen. His demands are great and they’re supposed to be great. The players there will have to decide whether they want to buy into it or not.”
He added: “I don’t think Ipswich are taking a risk. He was here when Sunderland were bottom of the league and did fantastically well; he got them into the Premier League. He’s everything the Ipswich board want. I’m sure he’ll do extremely well for them.”
Sbragia remained diplomatic when questioned if Keane’s man management skills will require a change if he is to prosper in the game and with his new club.
“!He’ll probably analyse how things went. It’s a different club from Sunderland, but he’ll do it the Roy Keane way, I definitely know that.”
Former Irish international midfield colleague Ray Houghton welcomed the appointment of Keane and suggests that there may come a time when the Cork man may manage the Republic of Ireland.
“There is no question, Roy is more than capable of being the Irish manager somewhere down the line — if that’s something he wants to do. He’s got all the knowledge. He knows what makes players tick. But Roy has a bigger job ahead of that at the moment at Ipswich which is going out there and proving himself again,” said Houghton.
“Roy has already proved he is a good manager. At Sunderland he saw the club was promoted in his first season and knows how to do it. He’ll have a major say in the Championship next season. You’d wonder what some of the managers in that division are thinking now, when they woke up on Thursday morning and found out that Roy Keane is the next Ipswich manager.”
Newcastle boss Alan Shearer wished his former foe luck but admitted Keane’s appointment was hardly uppermost in his thoughts.
The former Magpies skipper and his Manchester United counterpart locked horns on many occasions during their playing careers, sometimes to explosive effect.
Shearer is attempting to drag Newcastle out of the relegation mire just a few miles up the road from where Keane took his first steps in management.
He said: “I’m not really interested, I have got more important things to worry about, to be honest. But I wish him well.”
West Brom boss Tony Mowbray believes it is “good for the game” to see Keane return to management and agrees he has the pedigree to lead them back to the Premier League.
Mowbray said: “It is good for the game that Roy Keane is back in management. He showed he could do the job of getting a team out of the Championship at Sunderland.
“He did an amazing job at Sunderland. When he went in, they weren’t winning many games and they went like a train through the league and ended up winning it.
“Ipswich will be hoping for a similar ride. They are a club more than geared up for the Premier League.
“He has been there, he knows the league. It appears to me Ipswich have got an ambitious owner. Any owner who employs someone of the drive and ambition of Roy Keane is going to have to try and match it. Let’s wait and see.”
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