Roy Keane won’t travel to Brazil with ITV

The Republic of Ireland assistant manager will focus on his coaching ambitions

 Roy Keane has withdrawn from his role as an ITV pundit. Photograph:  Nigel French/PA Wire

Roy Keane has withdrawn from his role as an ITV pundit. Photograph: Nigel French/PA Wire


Not for the first time Roy Keane has caused a degree of turmoil on the eve of a World Cup, after deciding not to travel to Brazil as a pundit for ITV in order to focus on his coaching ambitions.

In contrast to the situation in 2002, when as a player he had a furious bust-up with the Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and was sent home, his parting with the broadcaster was understood to be amicable.

Keane appeared at the ITV World Cup launch a fortnight ago alongside fellow pundits who include Lee Dixon, Gus Poyet, Fabio Cannavaro and his Republic of Ireland managerial colleague Martin O’Neill.

The former Manchester United midfielder has been well received as a pundit for ITV, with his forthright opinions and acerbic wit becoming a key feature of its Champions League and England coverage.

He appeared alongside O’Neill at a breakfast event in London where he revealed he had decided not to travel to Brazil in order to concentrate on his coaching career.

The former Sunderland and Ipswich Town manager has been strongly linked with an assistant’s role at Aston Villa, which it is believed he would be able to undertake in addition to his Ireland job.

It is understood that ITV have left the door open for Keane to return to the punditry sofa. “Roy has been a tremendous part of our pundit team in recent years, but we fully understand his decision to concentrate wholly on his coaching,” an ITV spokesperson said. “We wish him every success for the future.”

ITV, which shares the rights to the World Cup with the BBC, will broadcast the opening game between Brazil and Croatia on June 12th and has chosen to show England’s second and third group games against Uruguay and Costa Rica.

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