Robbie Keane calls for strong Ireland manager
‘Someone who is honest, somebody who has balls, you know ... someone who doesn’t take any shit from anyone’
Richard Dunne (left) and captain Robbie Keane during a training session at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Robbie Keane and the Republic of Ireland players training in the Aviva Stadium this evening. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The LA Galaxy striker and the country’s record goalscorer has for the first time made his feelings on the hunt for Giovanni Trapattoni’s successor abundantly clear.
Keane, who has been passed fit for tomorrow’s final World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan, was speaking at the pre-match press conference alongside interim manager Noel King when asked what he was looking for in an international manager.
“I want someone who is honest, who doesn’t mess around, who understands how important it is to be proud to be an international manager, to be proud of what we are trying to achieve in Ireland,” said the Dubliner.
“Someone who is honest, somebody who has balls, you know ... someone who doesn’t take any shit from anyone.”
Asked if he meant a manager capable of standing up to players, he replied: “Everything to be honest with you, I don’t want to be specific on certain things but I think ... everything.
“Whatever you think that that is, then that’s probably right. Probably everything that comes into being an international manager, knowing that if someone doesn’t get picked or something like that, (well) are you going to be upset with a manager who is very strong in his views....?”
The former Tottenham and Liverpool striker feels the association doesn’t have far to look, either, and effectively endorsed the appointment of any of the three main Irish candidates – favourite Martin O’Neill, former boss Mick McCarthy or one-time captain Roy Keane.
“The names that I keep hearing being mentioned,” he said, “if any of them took over I don’t think anyone would be too unhappy. It could be any of those, I don’t know. Whoever it is, I think that it’s important that it’s a fresh start for the whole country, that we get behind him, that we wish them well, whoever it might be.”
He added: “Mick was a great guy, a fantastic guy, I think everything that we’ve referenced comes into that mode, so if it was Mick, if it was Roy Keane or Martin O’Neill then I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.
“I’m not saying that the manager has to be one of them but they’re the three names that are being mentioned and I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.”
At 33, he might not be ready for it himself but the Tallaghtman admits managing his country is an ambition.
“Not at the moment ... it’s clearly something that in the future I’d consider after I do my coaching badges which I will do but that’s all a fair way off in the future.”