McAteer urges Keane to return


Jason McAteer has urged Roy Keane to put the past behind him and return to the Republic of Ireland fold.

Keane insisted he would not play for Ireland boss Mick McCarthy again following his World Cup walkout. But McCarthy's departure yesterday has left the way clear for a comeback and McAteer insists the Manchester United captain would be welcomed back.

McAteer told talkSport's No Nonsense Sports Breakfast: "I am a big fan of Roy Keane - he is a world-class player and we are going to benefit from having him.

"After all that has gone on between me and Roy I do actually like Roy. What happened is part and parcel of football. I am not going to walk away and say I hate Roy Keane for what happened because I don't. At the end of 90 minutes you shake each others' hand and get on with it."

He added: "You can never question Roy's commitment, talent or experience. But he made the decision to walk away from the World Cup. He had his own reasons, and whatever they were, the decision was up to him."

McAteer also believes McCarthy has been disgracefully hounded out of his job. McAteer is convinced his former boss has paid the price for Keane's acrimonious departure from the World Cup squad last May. McAteer finds it hard to believe McCarthy quit simply as a consequence of losing two successive European Championship qualifiers. He urged McCarthy's critics to look at the facts and absolve him of any blame over the Keane situation.

Meanwhile, former international and Wimbledon manager, Joe Kinnear will not be applying for the Republic of Ireland manager's job - but would not rule himself out of the running for the post.

Kinnear, currently in charge at second division Luton, turned down the Ireland job six years ago when he was in charge at Wimbledon but is one of the bookies' fancies to take the job this time round.

Kinnear, who won 26 caps with the Republic, told Sky Sports News: "I won't be applying for the job - if people want you they come and get you. I'm not getting sucked into anything.

"I probably didn't do myself any favours last time I was offered the job and turned it down - whether they will ask me again, I don't know."

Kinnear is in no doubt that whoever replaces McCarthy will bring back Keane, adding: "Whoever goes in will bring Roy Keane back, that's for sure.

"They've got some smashing players, some great kids coming through. They've a decent side and with Roy Keane back it will give them a lift."