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Sunday 4 December 2016

Roy: I'm glad drink culture is done

Assistant manager Roy Keane retains hope that Ireland can qualify for next summer's Euro 2016 tournament in France
Assistant manager Roy Keane retains hope that Ireland can qualify for next summer's Euro 2016 tournament in France

Roy Keane says he's glad that the drinking culture is no longer prevalent in the senior Ireland squad and insists that current boss Martin O'Neill treats the players like adults.

The former Ireland captain said the senior team management have to counteract the dangers of boredom.

"When I was a player there were a lot of power battles with United. I always enjoyed playing for Ireland but there was always a lot of negativity with United because we'd have Champions League games, I'd have injuries," Keane said at an event for Guide Dog Day.

"The big problem for the players now is the politics involved. When the players turn up for the week, it's a long week, boredom - I used to get bored stuck in a room.

"So now we try and get the balance right, and we treat the players like adults. They can go out for a coffee or whatever, to relax. When I was playing under Jack it was very much the drinking culture.

"We'd have a game on the Wednesday. We'd turn up on the Sunday, the players would want to go out on the Sunday night, Jack would say he'd want us back at the hotel for 12 o'clock.

"The players would say - I'd be at the back - saying 'that's no good, 12 is an awkward time'. So he'd say 'be back for 1 o'clock'. Then the lads would say 'one o'clock is not a great time either, if you're out at one you're in a club somewhere'. So Jack would eventually say 'just be back in the morning for training'."

Keane will be back in Dublin on duty for the clash with England next month but it's the date with Scotland which is key for Keane.

"There will be an edge to the England game but the priority is the Scotland game. I am relaxed about it. You can lose a lot of energy in that side of it," Keane said.

"People had this image of me as a player always ranting and raving. My whole target is that the people I work with give 100%. People tell me I had a great career but I lost four or five cup finals, lost league titles, had injuries. What keeps me going is giving 100%. "

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