Duo take on Republic roles

06 November 2013 10:46

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane will form a "bad cop, bad, bad cop" team as they attempt to rejuvenate the Republic of Ireland's fortunes.

The pair both signed two-year contracts on Tuesday evening to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli as manager and assistant manager respectively after their five-and-a-half-year spell at the helm.

The appointments were confirmed by the Football Association of Ireland in a statement on Tuesday evening.

Speaking on ITV1 ahead of the Champions League clash between Real Sociedad and Manchester United, on which they were both working as pundits, O'Neill said: "Well, I think I'm the bad cop and he's the bad, bad cop.

"We're excited by it. It looks like we've something to go with. I'm looking forward to it greatly."

The 61-year-old, who has been out of the game since parting company with Sunderland at the end of March, was asked why he had turned to former Ireland skipper Keane in the search for a right-hand man, a move which proved something of a surprise.

He said with a smile: "I've asked myself that many a time over the last 48 hours.

"He's coming with me. Personally speaking, I think he'll be great for me, but more importantly, he'll be great for the Republic of Ireland."

Keane, whose reign as Ipswich manager came to an end in January 2011, fell out spectacularly with the FAI ahead of the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East and played no part in the tournament after a stand-off with then manager Mick McCarthy.

However, when he was approached by O'Neill, he responded positively, and the 42-year-old's prospective involvement was sanctioned by the association.

Keane said: "It's fantastic news. I'm honoured that Martin has asked me to come and help him with the team.

"I'm very excited - I might not look it, but I am. I look forward to working with the players and trying to get to the Euros."

FAI chief executive John Delaney had confirmed earlier on Tuesday that he expected O'Neill to be formally unveiled at a press conference on Saturday, and he and Keane will waste little time in getting involved.

The Republic squad are due to meet up at their Portmarnock base in time to start training on Monday in preparation for next Friday's friendly against Latvia at the Aviva Stadium, which is now likely to be rather better populated than it might have been.

They then head for Poznan, where they played two games of their ill-fated Euro 2012 finals campaign last summer, for a friendly against Poland on Tuesday, November 19.

But the main focus for O'Neill, Keane and the players alike will be the start of the qualifying process for Euro 2016 which is due to get under way in September next year.

Source: PA

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