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Monday 24 September 2018

Hearts and minds

O'Neill believes Keane has already won over any sceptics in the Irish squad

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

MARTIN O'NEILL believes that Roy Keane has already won over Ireland's players who may have been "concerned" about the arrival of the former Manchester United man into the Republic camp.

The scale of the job facing O'Neill and Keane was underlined in the last 24 hours when FIFA confirmed that Ireland had slipped to 67th in the world rankings, an all-time low for the national team.

But the new management duo have thrown themselves into the job with vigour – Keane will attend three club games in the space of two days between today and tomorrow – and O'Neill feels that his No.2 has already got any sceptics in the camp on his side.

"He's already made a great impression on the players themselves who I think, secretly, might have been a little bit concerned, but he's been really excellent," said O'Neill.

"He wants to do it. He has enthusiasm which is always there and is there in abundance. Hopefully it will be a bit of fun along the way and we'll get Roy smiling."

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