Kilbane would gladly have Mick or Roy defending the realm
It’s no crusade, but either would fit the bill for him as Republic of Ireland manager
Kevin Kilbane would be happy with Mick McCarthy or Roy Keane as king of the castle, or Republic of Ireland manager. Kilbane and Packie Bonner Packie Bonner were speaking at Dublin City Council’s Shared Histories – Smart Futures Summit on how people and sport can drive collaboration between the cities of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Jason Clarke
Finding a manager. Week six. Having listened to former internationals Kevin Kilbane and Packie Bonner in Dublin Castle yesterday it seems to be down to an old choice reborn.
Roy or Mick.
Kilbane would have no problem with Mick McCarthy or Roy Keane walking into an Irish dressingroom. Instant respect. For both men.
But pushed, he sided, ever so slightly, with his former gaffer. For the obvious reason.
“The only thing with Mick that would slightly outweigh [Roy]is because of his experience. He has been in the job, he knows what it takes, he has much more experience at club level.
Six weeks. Are the FAI messing McCarthy around? “I wouldn’t say messing him around. I understand they got to touch all bases but if they want Mick they should go and do it now.
“They are putting him in such a difficult position [as Ipswich manager] as he will continue to be asked these difficult questions.”
And Packie? Well, the great Donegal goalkeeper was happy to remain tucked up in his shell for the duration of a 15-minute interview. (Both men were speaking at Dublin City Council’s Shared Histories – Smart Futures summit).
Bonner couldn’t even be drawn on the latest, great debate doing the rounds in Irish football: David Forde or Keiren Westwood?
“No. I think either/or.”
Back to Kilbane on Keane as the new Ireland manager. Can’t happen, can it?
“Why would you rule that out, though? I heard Alex Ferguson said Roy wasn’t a success as a manager. He took a team from the bottom of the championship and got them promoted, regardless of what finances he had, that is an incredible achievement.
“I’ve played in that league and know how hard it is to get out of as well.
“He got them up and kept them up. I know they only finished seventh and that probably didn’t meet Roy’s expectations but he has been a success as a manager.
“And he’s Irish and wants the best for the players he has. Why would people rule that out?”
Concerns about Keane as a man-manager opened the gate for Kilbane to voice distaste for the modern player.
“The problem with the modern day player is they cannot accept criticism. And I think that’s the big thing now within the game. The reality only hits the player when they are criticised by the crowd.
Ruthless at times
“When we were kids it was ruthless at times and Roy is from that environment
“Alex Ferguson has said how intense Roy was at times and how intimidating. Well, he did not really intimidate me, I have got to say that. Maybe I was daft. I don’t know.”
So Roy would make everything harmonious again?
“If you are going to appoint Roy the media is going to have fireworks, there is going to be fireworks within the squad at times. But there was that under Mick, there was that under Big Jack. Mick was ferocious at times and had a temper on him.
“There’s a lack of character in the game as it is. That’s my personal belief.”
As for the current Ireland squad, Kilbane admits he does not know some of the younger players too well. He knows the skipper well, though
“Robbie (Keane)has been asked the same question for the last three or four campaigns: ‘Are you going to retire?’ I was asked it when I was about 28. I got into the squad and I had (Tony) Cascarino, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend, Roy was in and around . . . Niall Quinn.
“These were legends to me growing up as a boy and I was with these lads who were 34 or 35 who loved coming away to play for their country.
“Richard (Dunne) is 34 and he could carry on playing in our team for another campaign at least because he’s that good a player.
“I’d like to see him carry on for the simple fact the younger players are going to learn from his character. They’ll learn from him in the way he is. He’s quiet but he’ll say something when it’s right. When Richard says something, you take notice.”