Roy Keane makes his presence felt early at Irish training
New assistant manager arrives in Malahide 90 minutes ahead of session
The new Republic of Ireland management team of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane take their first training session at Gannon Park in Malahide. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Roy Keane wasted little time in making his presence felt as he formally took up his duties as the Republic of Ireland’s new assistant manager.
The 42-year-old arrived at the Republic’s training base, Malahide United’s Gannon Park, at 9.30am today – a full 90 minutes before manager Martin O’Neill and his players were due to begin work ahead of Friday night’s friendly against Latvia at the Aviva Stadium.
Keane went straight on to the training pitch to ensure everything was in place for the start of the morning session and then inspected the nearby gym facilities.
However, the former Ireland and Manchester United skipper, who was wearing full training kit, had time to sign autographs and pose for photographs with fans who had turned out to witness the birth of the new regime.
But he was back on the pitch long before the first wave of players, headed by current skipper Robbie Keane, arrived at 10.45am.
The smiling LA Galaxy striker expressed mock surprise at the size of the media pack which had assembled well in advance of the scheduled start amid a relaxed atmosphere.
O’Neill and the remainder of the squad arrived within minutes on the team coach and he and Keane looked on as the players warmed up, with keepers David Forde, Keiren Westwood and Rob Elliot working apart with new goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh.
The management duo looked on from the sidelines, with Keane at one point dispatching a stray ball into a goal standing at the side of the pitch.
But the real work began once the cameras had been switched off and journalists asked to leave after their allotted time, with a new era in Irish football well and truly under way.
O’Neill, who was formally unveiled at a press conference in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, was due to speak to the media once again on Tuesday afternoon with Keane scheduled to hold his first press conference 24 hours later.