John O’Shea says Celtic draw too strong for Roy Keane

Sunderland defender knows Martin O’Neill would cope with loss of assistant

John O’Shea during Republic of Ireland training at   Gannon Park in  Malahide on Friday. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

John O’Shea during Republic of Ireland training at Gannon Park in Malahide on Friday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Republic of Ireland defender John O’Shea believes Celtic are one of the only clubs that could entice Roy Keane away from his current post as assistant manager to Martin O’Neill.

The Sunderland defender admits he fears the worst, but is confident the squad would cope with the loss of a man who has proved hugely inspirational since his addition to the backroom staff.

Asked for his gut-feeling, O’Shea said: “It looks very much like it now. Slowly but surely, it has snowballed into having talks with Celtic, so I would be very surprised if it doesn’t get across the line.

“If it does happen, it’s one of the clubs around the world that was going to entice him back into management and away from his current job.

“It’s something I’m sure he would really, really enjoy and look forward to and relish the challenge of managing a fantastic club like Celtic. But let’s wait and see if it does happen.

“As the manager said, we would be very disappointed because we know what a fantastic character he is to have fighting for us on our side going into matches.”

O’Shea is confident Martin O’Neill will more than make up for the loss of Keane if he takes over from Neil Lennon at Parkhead.

“Ah well look, the manager we have is very, very important and very, very talented and fortunately we will have time for the manager, if it does happen, to adjust his backroom team accordingly for the forthcoming qualification games.

“In that sense, we are lucky that he will have a bit of time to adjust. He has brought Steve Walford and Steve Guppy in this week as well, so we are fortunate we have the time beforehand, if it does happen, to adjust. Believe me, the manager can do it himself as well.”

Keane will travel to London for the clash with the Italians at Craven Cottage, but whether he boards the plane for the United States next Wednesday with further friendlies against Costa Rica and Portugal remains to be seen.

O’Neill admits he is yet to broach the subject of whether or not Keane could combine the two jobs, but O’Shea sees no reason why it could not be done.

He said: “That’s something for people other than myself to talk about, but I can’t see why he couldn’t do it.

“But I’m sure Celtic and the FAI would maybe prefer it to be one way or the other, but hey, things have been done like that in the past, so why can’t it be done in the future?”

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