O’Neill, Keane to be unveiled as Ireland dream team
FAI's John Delaney has ‘absolutely no problem’ with Keane taking assistant manager role
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images.
FAI chief executive John Delaney says that Martin O’Neill will be unveiled as the Irish team’s new manager this Saturday when the former Celtic and Aston Villa boss will sign his contract and sort out remaining issues relating to the line up of his backroom staff.
Delaney said that while the deal has not been sealed between the two sides, he cannot see “any impediment” to their agreement being formally ratified over the coming days.
The process has been slowed, he acknowledged, by the former Northern Ireland international’s media commitments, with both the 61-year-old and Roy Keane currently in Spain with ITV for this evening’ Champions League game between Real Sociedad and Manchester United.
Keane is definitely on board, Delaney said, but with the rest of the northerner’s coaching staff yet to be finalised, he said that O’Neill will take next week’s training sessions in advance of the Latvia game himself. The first of those will be on Monday.
Looks like its a done deal with the ireland job.. Think its the perfect fit two greats in the game and two irish men managing our country 👍🍀— James McClean (@JMcC_23) November 5, 2013
O’Neill, he suggested, will outline his plans for the job, the role he envisages for Keane and, in the wake of reports that he held off for a while in the hope an attractive Premier league alternative might come along, his hunger for the job itself in Dublin on Saturday.
It was far from clear from Delaney’s interview on the Pat Kenny Show on the Denis O’Brien-owned Newstalk whether or not Keane will be at that unveiling, but Delaney later suggested on Sky Sports News that the Corkman will not attend.
He insisted on Newstalk, however, that he and Keane have set aside their differences and insisted they can work together.
They met twice last week, he said, when their history was discussed for just “30 seconds,” he claimed. “It was about the future,” he remarked before adding: “the Roy Keane I met last week impressed me.” Delaney subsequently denied making disparaging comments about Keane at a recent supporters’ meeting.
He is optimistic, he says, about the prospect of Ireland qualifying for the European Championships in 2016 under the new management team and observed “with this appointment, please God, we’ll make Irish football great again.”