‘There’s nothing to tame, I’m not some sort of animal’

THE BAD BAD COP

“I think Martin got it wrong! I’m going to be good cop. You don’t know Martin as well as you think you do — he makes me look like Mother Teresa. It should be interesting.”

THE FACILITIES

“We’ve had a lovely few days, the hotel’s been lovely, the food has been excellent, the training ground is lovely. No potholes, we’ve had footballs, it’s been great, bibs everything. Major progress.”

MARTIN’S CHOICE

“It goes to show how strong Martin is as, unfortunately, people might see me as a threat or some sort of trouble maker, but hopefully Martin has seen I have something to offer.”

I AM WHAT I AM

“I’m not here to try to change anybody’s opinion about myself or decisions I’ve made in the past. I spent years trying to please everybody and, trust me, it’s a waste of time and energy. You’ve just got to do what you think is right and get on with it. I like to set high standards. A lot of people seem to have an issue with that. A lot of the criticism I’ve faced over the last 15 or 20 years is that I’m very demanding and that I don’t settle for second best. Well, I’m certainly not going to apologise for that, that’s just part of my make-up.”

CRITICISM OF EURO 2012

“I think there is an issue with lots of players in general who think they are better than they are. Players, and I don’t necessarily mean the Irish players, some are classed as world class players, and I think that is thrown around too lightly. I always think players should do better so I don’t think my comments were over the top. Like everyone else, I thought Ireland should have done better and surely there is nothing wrong with saying that when you lose your three games.”

BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME

“It’s nice to get back involved with Ireland, just the whole emotional attraction to it. I know when you’re a manager, it’s very much a business, but I’m quite an emotional person. To get back involved with Ireland, It’s good for me, it’s good for my family. It’s good to work with Martin to try and help the team qualify. Everything. As I said, I couldn’t think of any minus why I shouldn’t get back involved.”

THE CRAIC

“I’ve missed having the football chat, we have had some good craic with the staff and the players over the last few nights. I’ve missed that sort of thing. That is one of the real plusses, getting back into real football chat. Getting involved with some players one to one. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

BEING TAMED

“I hope not. There’s nothing to tame, you know. I’m not some sort of animal, you know what I mean. I’m a footballing man. I like to work hard and push people and I suppose that sometimes I have got that slightly wrong on one or two occasions over the years, but generally speaking I look back and think I got a lot of it right. There’s areas I need to look at, particularly now I’m the assistant, when to step back and hopefully I’ll get that right as well.”

ALEX FERGUSON

“I think I’ve no issues. The beauty of football is that everybody has opinions and I’ve no problem with that. The issue I’ll have is when people just tell lies about me — that’s when I’ll come out and defend myself. I’m not going to sit here and defend myself regarding Alex Ferguson. That’s for another day.”

STEPHEN IRELAND

“It’s great to see him back playing. It’s important that he focuses on his club career, he’s only played a few games over the last month or two, but if that’s an area Martin wants me to look at and speak to players — I wouldn’t say I know him too well, the player — but I’d like to think that he’d certainly be open to having some sort of conversation. We’ll do our best to get him back involved, if that’s what he wants.”

JAMES McCARTHY

“He probably plays a little like me maybe not as aggressive and possibly looking to mature in terms of (imposing) his personality on the teams over the next few years, but that will all come. That comes with maturity and when you get games under your belt, but from the way he trained today and the game we had, he was getting in very good attacking positions and making very good forwards runs, which I think is always something I did when I was a young player particularly at Forest.”

IRISH INFERIORITY COMPLEX

“Sometimes it’s in the air, like a negative energy. It’s very hard to win games of football but you want to get it into the mindset that, certainly, you should believe you have a chance of winning a game of football.”

IRISH FLAIR

“Listen, I’m not saying Ireland can all of a sudden start playing like Brazil or Barcelona, I understand that. But don’t have a closed mind to it. Believe you can play some attractive football. Ireland have some good players — the boy Hoolahan, McCarthy, Ireland if he gets back. Every time I see Anthony Stokes, he affects games. I’ve worked with Stokesy. Aiden McGeady. These are all talented boys, no matter what way you look at it.”

MANAGERIAL AMBITIONS

“Absolutely, but that can be further down the road. You have to live in the now instead of worrying about what might happen. The opportunity has come to work with Martin, to get back in the Irish set-up. Brilliant. I feel very lucky to have got back involved.”

SUCCEEDING O’NEILL

“Listen, ah Jesus Christ, who knows? I think the media love that one, ‘what if, what it?’ but just enjoy the moment. You don’t know, what’s around the corner. What if things go badly? Would you want me to stay?”

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