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Keane ready to start working in Irish football

November 13, 2013

MALAHIDE, Ireland (AP) — Roy Keane defended his past criticisms of Irish football and insisted on Wednesday he wouldn’t hold back from “putting demands on players” in his new role as assistant coach of the national team.

The outspoken Keane was dropped from Ireland’s squad at the 2002 World Cup without kicking a ball after denouncing the preparations for the tournament. He also criticized senior members of the national team following their poor display at the 2012 European Championship.

However, Keane has patched up his differences with Football Association of Ireland officials and the former Manchester United midfielder will work alongside newly appointed coach Martin O’Neill through to Euro 2016.

“I’m not some sort of animal,” Keane said. “I’m a footballing man, I like to work hard and push people, and sometimes I suppose I have got that slightly wrong on one or two occasions over the years.

“But generally speaking, I look back and I think I have got a lot of it right. Yes, there are areas I need to look at, particularly as now I’m the assistant, when to step back, and hopefully I get that right as well. But I am also there to push the players.”

Despite his previous conflicts with the FAI, Keane said he had no hesitation in joining up with O’Neill.

“One of my strong points is when I meet up with people, I have had disagreements with in the past, I am happy to move on pretty quickly,” Keane said. “We wanted what was good for Irish football, the past is the past.

“Working with Martin will be a good experience for me. Some would see me as a threat or a troublemaker but Martin has seen something in me that can help him.”

Keane said he recently turned down an offer to manage an international team.

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