O’Neill: I won’t change Keane 6 years ago

O’Neill: I won’t change Keane

In what was a very impressive first press conference since being announced as Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill revealed that he will not try and doesn’t want to change anything about assistant Roy Keane.

Keane has arguably been more talked about since it became known that he would act as O’Neill’s assistant as part of a very exciting managerial partnership, with questions raised about his ability to cope as number two, his volatile character and his falling out with the FAI in the past.

O’Neill, however, who was warm, relaxed, very assured and in very good humour throughout the press conference at the Gibson Hotel, said "I do not want to change anything about Roy Keane" and added that “a little bit of volatility won’t do anyone any harm” before speaking of his admiration of Roy’s enthusiasm for the role since the partnership was put in place. Keane, incidentally, is at Villa Park for the clash between Aston Villa and Cardiff today.

O’Neill said that it took “four and a half seconds” for Keane to agree to his new role and added that the Cork man joked that he would reverse their respective roles in about ten minutes.

O’Neill also spoke about wanting to win games “with style and panache” where possible, about Enda Kenny’s comments regarding an all-Ireland team playing a charity match – when he doubted if there was enough “space in the calendar” – and confirmed that there were no clauses in his contract that would release him if a Premier League club came calling.

Overall, it was a very confident, very self-assured and very positive display by the new man in charge of the Boys in Green and gave plenty of reasons for optimism ahead of a new era in Irish football.