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O'Neill won't try to muzzle 'terrific' No 2


Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill


Martin O'Neill

MARTIN O'Neil has once again defended Roy Keane and will not try to stop the Corkman from speaking his mind.

"Every single time that you mention Roy, it either seems to be a distraction or another issue. Let me tell you straight: I'm delighted to have him," O'Neill (pictured) insisted.

"I chose in the first place to bring him in here, he's been terrific, he's really been terrific. He has been terrific around the lads he has been great. He has been, everything that I wanted him to be.

"All the distractions - some things have materialised that actually aren't of his doing to begin with, so I haven't a problem.

"He's got a mind of his own, he can say what he wants. Again, unless it's absolutely and utterly in contradiction with what I am saying to you, then I do not have a problem with it. It is not an issue all the time."

O'Neill claimed that he had not read any of Keane's comments from a fraught interview given to football writers on Sunday.

He shrugged aside Keane's remarks about Jack Grealish's father Kevin when it was suggested that the comments were anything but helpful in a delicate situation.

"What do you mean by helpful? Helpful for what?," O'Neill retorted. "I've spoken to Jack Grealish's father, I spoke to him at the time a way back, some time ago.

"I spoke to the two of them, and Jack's father and Jack were not in any great hurry, at that particular time, to make their minds up - fine, absolutely. I left it entirely up to them."

"Now at the end of it all, if Jack pulls out of the Under-21s and wants to concentrate on his club football, good luck to him, good luck to him.

"I can understand, Roy is not going to be running around there asking Jack Grealish's father every single day has he made his mind up. Let them decide themselves.

"He's (Keane) made the point, has he not? What do you want me to say? Seriously, what do you want me to go and do?

"In terms of players coming in, it would be great, it would be great top have them. If you are asking about young Grealish, it would be nice to have someone like that on board.


"I have said to you - and I don't need Roy Keane for this, I don't need Roy Keane to tell me - but I'm not going to go and chase him, I am not chasing him.

"The situation is there for everyone. I have spoken to Jack Grealish's father, I have spoken to Jack Grealish and it's really up to them, it's as simple as that," he said.

O'Neill will review the comments made by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright criticising Keane.

"I think that I will, yes. It is not my job to read the newspapers every single morning. I might get a chance to go down and find out what was said on both sides and then I will take a view."

Has he spoken with Roberto Martinez?

"I last spoke to Roberto last Monday. I haven't spoken to him since. James will be back fit for the weekend and as a club manager he should be pretty pleased about that," said O'Neill.