herald

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Iceland can be cool for Keane

Roy Keane and Iceland? It's a gag writer's delight.

From stand-up comics trying to get their tongue around ash cloud volcano Eyjafjallajokull in a Cork accent to quips about working the check-out at the supermarket chain, the notion of the former Manchester United captain taking over Iceland's national team is ripe for ridicule.

But would the alliance be as bizarre and unimaginable as it first seems?



lifetime

Having worked just a few days at the start of this year before parting company with Ipswich Town after 20 months in charge ("sacked" the reports said), Roy has probably had enough of fishing, dog-walking and singing along to Bob Dylan CDs to do him a lifetime. He probably reckons it's time to get busy.

It's my guess, and only just a guess, that he's looked at clubs in the lower leagues and thought he could do without the day-to-day hassle. I'd say he saw Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio on TV having a torrid tunnel tête-à-tête with striker Leon Clarke after his team's 3-1 defeat by Southampton and thought, "I'd rather be in Iceland. In the winter. In a pair of football shorts. With no beard. Or woolly cap."

And you weren't the first to think of the success Brian Kerr is enjoying with the Faroe Islands. Forget Alex Ferguson. There's a positive role model for Roy, right there in the Greener.

Football management is not easy. It's not a job for the faint-hearted. And, after his bitter experiences at Sunderland and Ipswich, Roy should know.

After the glories of Old Trafford and his stint with Glasgow Celtic, Keane got more than he bargained for at Sunderland.

In Keane's case, it often felt as if the very characteristics that defined his greatness on the pitch militated against him when he ran the operation from the dug-out.

The stress levels in dealing with an international team will be different. And who's to say that Roy wouldn't be the man to kick this Iceland team into shape?

If he's done his homework, Roy will know that Iceland hasn't done altogether too badly against Ireland. Three draws and five losses in eight games.

And with just one point to show from six games in their current Euro 2012 Group H qualifiers, the only way is up for Iceland.

So who knows, Iceland's managerial role, featuring Asgeir Sigurvinsson, Eyjolfur Sverrisson and Olafur Johannesson, could soon be joined by Keano.

But with Steve Coppell, former Sweden manager Lars Lagerback and ex-Finland boss Stuart Baxter said to be in the frame, you'd wonder if the pressure isn't already on Roy to succeed.

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