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Thursday 17 August 2017

Keane: Club spirit will help us when the going gets tough in France

Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane enjoy banter with players. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane enjoy banter with players. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Roy Keane believes that Martin O'Neill has helped foster a club spirit in the Ireland squad which will be a big help in the Euro 2016 finals in France.

"The spirit is good and the manager deserves credit for that," he said.

"People always talk about how you treat the players. It's dead simple, you treat them like men. You trust them whether it's the evening or the afternoons.

"We are not ones for staying on the training ground for six hours," added Keane. "At this stage of the season it's about short and sharp stuff.

"Credit to the players, they have a good spirit and go out of the way to help each other. The younger lads have been welcomed with open arms. It's enjoyable and we like working together.

"It's always a good break from the club scene where lads are under a different pressure. Martin is good with them and gives them a good freedom."

Keane is clearly still enjoying his work with Ireland and has an open mind about staying on, whether O'Neill signs a new deal or not.

"I'm open-minded. I've enjoyed the job, enjoyed working with Martin and the rest of the staff. I've enjoyed working with the players. and obviously, we've qualified.

"A lot will depend on the manager's situation. The FAI made it clear it was Martin's decision to bring me here. I'll be dictated by what Martin wants to do.

"He's an experienced manager, he's negotiating his deal and good luck. If it's sorted out after that, I'll have a conversation with him. I've never been one to worry about contracts in life. Football has been very good to me.

"If it's not sorted out next month or two, so be it. If we stay on, fantastic. If we don't, life goes on.

"What ever you want to do in life, you want to work with good people.

I think we are all working with decent people. We have all got the same aims, there are no hidden agendas and we all have the same targets.

"And that gives you that bit of energy and push, even through the disappointments be it the Scotland game, when we first got involved, when we went to America looking at players when we had depleted squads, the tough games against Spain and Portugal.

"We came through it and always felt there's something here to get our teeth into. That's why it's being good in the last few days.

"Obviously the manager is still looking at the bigger picture and at the next campaign but I would not be writing off some of the senior players either.

"These players deserve great credit and I don't say that lightly.

"I can be reluctant to give people credit but while we talk about what the younger players can bring in terms of energy, these senior players will travel to the Euros and don't think for one minute they will be thinking 'ah well, I'll have a last little tournament. The John O'Sheas and Robbie Keanes will want to have an impact, absolutely."

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