Robbie Keane offered assistant manager job at Middlesbrough
Ireland open to Keane joining up with former teammate Jonathan Woodgate
Robbie Keane has been offered the assistant manager job at Middlesbrough. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Robbie Keane is weighing up an offer to take on the same role at Middlesbrough where his former Tottenham Hotspur teammate Jonathan Woodgate is set to take charge over the coming days.
“I’ve been asked; I met the yesterday, they want me to come in as assistant manager, to help so it’s up to me to think about it really,” he said at event in Crumlin Children’s Hospital where he was promoting Dublin’s role in hosting next year’s Euro 2020 finals.
“But it won’t affect me here, which was key for me. I spoke to Mick about it, told him and I said that under no circumstances would I take it if I had to leave here. And he was delighted. He told me, ‘you’re not f*****g leaving here!’. Those were his words. Excuse my language. So that’s what it is. It’s up to me if I want to do it.”
Keane said that because of the international game against Gibraltar he has not yet had time to give the offer proper consideration but he suggested that he would make a call on it by the end of the week.
“It’s been so busy that last few days with the games we’ve had that I haven’t even spoken to my wife about it really. I just flew over yesterday and met the chairman (Steve Gibson), had a good chat, a good meal with him and I have a couple of days to think about it. Listen, it’s exciting but the most important thing is that I wasn’t leaving here.”
Keane sounded as though he is inclined to take the additional role on but insists he has not actually made his mind up. “Honestly, I don’t know,” he said. “It’s happened so quick. I met them yesterday, had a lovely chat with them. Chairman was a pleasant fella, a really nice guy. So it’s happened so quick that I haven’t really had time to think about it.
“The most important thing is the family as well. It’s a big thing to do, you know? It excites me. Working class people, good values. And obviously I know Woody (Woodgate) 20 years. He’s a good friend. And if I can help him as much as I can I’ll do so. But I have to think about it. I’ve told that to the chairman: ‘Gimme a few days to think about it’. But the most important thing is I spoke to Mick and the FAI and they’re very supportive.
“I wouldn’t have taken the job if Mick or the FAI said ‘we don’t want you do it, we want you to stay here and you can only do this’ - I wouldn’t have taken the job. It’s attracting me now because they’re very open to me going there. And listen, most of our players are in the Championship so you’re going to be seeing them every week anyway.
“Everyone’s been very good. The chairman’s been very good in terms of when it comes to the Irish team having a couple of days off and stuff like that. So it’s all positive to be honest with you. I’ll just think about it.”