HomeJobsRoy Keane admits he talked to the FAI this year about ‘dream’...

Roy Keane admits he talked to the FAI this year about ‘dream’ Ireland job but feels ‘that ship has sailed’


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Despite the 67-cap former midfielder making that ambition clear, Keane feels that ship has sailed for him at this stage.

The former Manchester United star revealed last January that becoming Stephen Kenny’s successor “could be an option” and that assuming the Irish hot seat was an opportunity that did appeal to him, having previously been assistant to Martin O’Neill between 2013 and 2018.

Now, Keane has confirmed he had spoken with Abbotstown officials about the vacant post in recent months but stressed that, in his view, the opportunity is no longer a possibility, with the FAI’s search now standing at 215 days.

“If I could manage any team now, it might grab a silly headline, but I enjoyed the international set-up when I was working with Martin as a coach,” Keane told the Stick to Football podcast.

“I liked the dynamics and the flow of international football. It wasn’t 24 hours a day, but still working at a high level.

“If you are on about dream jobs, maybe the Irish job, but obviously, I think that ship has sailed.”

“Yes,” replied Keane when asked if he had spoken to the FAI this year about the vacant managerial post.

“But I spoke to lots of teams. Just because you speak to people doesn’t mean … the hardest part is getting the deal done.

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“Lots of people and clubs I have spoken to over the years are just wasting your time. It’s a bit of PR, they are ticking a few boxes, [and] they want to link you with the job.

“You meet people and as soon as you sit down, they start talking about numbers and you’re like, ‘Really? Come on’. I don’t mean with Ireland, I’m on about club jobs.

“If you’re going to sit down with people and have a conversation, clubs need to be serious, but a lot of people aren’t and are just timewasters.”

Since Kenny’s departure last November, the Boys in Green remain without a permanent boss after the FAI missed two deadlines in February and April to have a successor in place. Former international John O’Shea took interim charge for the March and June windows.

The Waterford man has made no secret of his desire for the full-time gig, with Ireland next in action at home to England and Greece in September as the Nations League campaign gets underway.

With O’Neill, Keane helped Ireland qualify for Euro 2016 in France – the last time the national side qualified for a major tournament.

The 52-year-old has also managed Sunderland and Ipswich Town previously, while in recent years, he has been an assistant at Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest.

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The Corkman says he’d only return to management if the deal was right, as he reflected on his two seasons with Sunderland, in which he helped them win promotion to the Premier League in 2007.

“With Sunderland, I fell into it accidentally, I wasn’t sure. I’d only go back in [to management] if it was a really good offer and the deal was right. I don’t think that’s going to happen,” said Keane.

“I kind of fell into management, I was doing my coaching courses before I left Celtic. Sunderland all happened kind of accidentally, but I loved Sunderland.

“I have great freedom in my life. I answer to nobody. I’ve a few deals with a few TV companies, but if any rang me tomorrow and said ‘we’re finished’, I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep.

“I remember going up to Sunderland and they offered me a five-year deal. I only wanted three. I went to Ipswich, they offered me a three-year deal, I only wanted two. I always had the ambition of getting the job done quickly. I should have been easier on myself, particularly at Sunderland.

“Sunderland’s ownership changed, my contract was coming up, we were in the Premier League and doing OK, but at the time, I remember thinking, ‘We needed to be doing better’.

“When I look back, I was managing in the Premier League at 35 years old, talk about inexperience. If I could look back now and go, ‘You were doing fine’. I got a bit impatient with myself.”

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