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Ireland manager would be dream job but ‘that ship has sailed’ – Roy Kane

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Ireland manager would be dream job but ‘that ship has sailed’ – Roy Kane

The former Manchester United and Ireland skipper confirmed he spoke to the Football Association of Ireland earlier this year about filling the vacancy left by Stephen Kenny’s departure in November, but the parties were unable to reach an agreement.

Keane, currently working as a TV pundit at Euro 2024, served as former boss Martin O’Neill’s number two in a five-year spell with the national team which ended in 2018 and revealed that experience had left him hungry for more.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill (right) with assistant Roy Keane during a World Cup qualifying play-off first leg match against Denmark at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen
Roy Keane (left) spent five years as assistant to Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill (Niall Carson/PA)

Speaking to the Stick to Football podcast, Keane said: “I did enjoy the international set-up when I was working with Martin as a coach. I like the dynamics, the flow of international football.

“It wasn’t 24 hours a day, but you’re still working at a good level, so if you’re on about dream jobs, I suppose – it’s a bit silly saying it, but maybe the Irish job.

“But obviously I think that ship has sailed as well.”

Asked by podcast co-host and former team-mate Gary Neville if he had spoken to the FAI, Keane said: “Yes.

Republic of Ireland head coach Stephen Kenny reacts to the assistant referee during an International Friendly against New Zealand in November 2023
Stephen Kenny lost his job as Republic of Ireland manager in November last year (Niall Carson/PA)

“You speak to lots of teams. Just because you speak to people, it doesn’t mean to say… The hardest part is getting the deal done.

“Lots of people and lots of clubs that I’ve spoken to over the years are just wasting your time. It’s a bit of PR, they’re ticking a few boxes. They want to link you with the job and you meet people and as soon as you sit down with them and they start talking numbers, you are like, ‘Really? Come on’.

“I don’t mean with Ireland, I’m on about club jobs, so if you were going to sit down with people and have a conversation, then be serious, But a lot of people aren’t serious, they’re time wasters.”

Keane is one of a procession of names to have been linked with the Ireland job, along with the likes of Lee Carsley, Anthony Barry, Gus Poyet, Willy Sagnol, Chris Coleman, Chris Hughton and Neil Lennon.

His former United and Ireland team-mate John O’Shea, who took charge of friendly double-headers in March and June, has also emerged as a potential candidate, but the wait for an appointment in ongoing.

Asked about the possibility of returning to management, Keane, who has had spells in charge at Sunderland and Ipswich, said: “What I have now at the moment is I’ve great freedom in my life. I answer to nobody. I do what I want.

“The only thing I have inside me is – I know I’m going back a long time and obviously I worked with Martin for a while with Ireland – I do think I could do a good job.

“Maybe it’s a bit of ego, I don’t know. Maybe that will never leave me. But also if I didn’t go back into management, I’m fine with that. I’ve a great life. I’ve never been so contented in my life, so be careful what you wish for.

“I still have a feeling I could do something. Maybe that will never leave me. That’s not a bad thing. But also, I’m very comfortable with what I’m doing.”

:: Roy Keane was speaking on Stick to Football, brought to you by Sky Bet

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