Keane willing to compromise with FAI

 

Rather than apologising for his outburst in Saipan last week, sacked Ireland skipper Roy Keane on Monday night spoke of his sense of betrayal at being kicked out of his country's World Cup squad.

Though he said he would still "love to play in the World Cup", he insisted the "ball is not in my court."

While many observers had expected Keane to use the interview on RTÉ to say sorry to manager Mick McCarthy in a bid to be invited back to Japan, the former-captain instead hinted that it was he who was owed an apology.

"My conscience is clear, and that's the most important thing in my life. I have to stand up for what I believe in. I've done things I'm ashamed of in my life, but on this, I'm sticking to my guns. What happened to me last week was wrong."

"If there was any doubt in my head that I was out of order, that I should have held it back a bit, I'd be back like a shot. But I can't accept that. I won't accept it."

Keane said he had been "forced into a corner" by McCarthy and "had no choice but to come out fighting."

He expressed his particular dismay at the lack of support he received from senior team-mates Steve Staunton, Niall Quinn, and Alan Kelly, all of whom have condemned the comments he made in Saipan last week. "When you go out onto the pitch, you want to have your team-mates behind you. But I think certain players were thinking about their own reputations."

Asked by RTÉ, however, if he would be prepared to "meet the FAI half-way" in negotiations for his return, a clearly emotional Keane replied "Possibly.....Yes".

"No one wants to play for Ireland more than me" he said, "I've been involved since I was 14, going up to Dublin for trials, and the World Cup would be the biggest thing of all."

An FAI spokesperson in Izumo said McCarthy is "considering his response", but won't deliver his verdict until he has seen the full interview or read a transcript.

FAI Honorary Treasuer John Delaney said he didn't think tonight's interview with Keane would lead to his reinstatement because he had detected "no change in Roy's attitude."

"What we need now is closure" said Delaney, "the controversy must end."

He revealed that McCarthy would be given a transcript of Keane's interview.

He added: "It's the middle of night. FAI officials and Mick are waiting to see a transcript.

"The FAI fully support Mick and his decision. There has been a lot of comment from and about Roy in relation to players. And I don't think things have changed at all.