Reid: I will always listen to Roy
Forest star delighted to have rejoined his former boss Keane in Ireland set-up
THIRD time is a charm for Andy Reid as the Ireland veteran is delighted to link up with Roy Keane for yet another spell.
Keane and Reid were Ireland team-mates a decade ago – the Dubliner was then, as he is now, a Nottingham Forest player and in the Ireland starting XI when the Corkman made his return from international exile against Romania in 2004.
The duo then worked together at Sunderland when Keane took Reid to the club, and now the old pals act is back in place, with the latter restored to the Ireland squad and the former on hand as assistant manager.
That bore fruit when Reid came off the bench to play in Friday's 3-0 win over Latvia, though the Forest man will have to miss tomorrow's friendly in Poland as he was sent back to his club for treatment after picking up a hamstring injury in training on Saturday.
"It was great to work with Roy again last week and he was exactly as I thought he would be," Reid told the Herald.
"He has been great to have around the place. He has been fantastic with all the lads, he is there to lend advice and when Roy Keane gives you advice, you always listen.
"I think it was a great week last week, we got through a lot in the few days of training, we learned a lot about the staff but they learned a lot about us as players too.
"We still have things to work on but there is no reason why this can't be a new era, a new start and a very productive time for the Irish team," added Reid.
Keane paid Charlton £4million to take Reid to Sunderland in January 2008. But within 12 months, Keane had gone, though Reid would stay on for another two years, and he relished working with his old boss.
"I got on fine with Roy, he was my manager and I was his player," he says. "I knew Roy from the Ireland scene as we'd played a few games for the national team together, but I didn't see that as leading to us having a special sort of relationship. It didn't matter what had happened when we were in the Irish side together, at Sunderland it was his decision to pick me in the team – or not – and it was my job to go out and perform for him.
"We have a new scenario now with Ireland. I think all of the issues that were around before are gone. It's very much a clean slate for everyone and it's just up to the players now to impress the manager and get into the team," added Reid.
The fact that Martin O'Neill played Wes Hoolahan in that role, just off the striker, was encouraging for fans and also encouraging for players like Reid, who are best-suited to that advanced role, more so than the defensive set-up favoured by Giovanni Trapattoni. It's a pity, then, that Reid suffered his injury on Saturday as O'Neill would surely have considered playing him in that role against the Poles, and the midfielder was enthused by what he saw.
"I think the players were given the licence to express themselves and most of them did that.
"I enjoyed the Latvia game, I think it was a good night for Irish football and it was a privilege for me to get on the field and be part of it.
"To win 3-0 in the manager's first game is ideal, a nice win and a clean sheet, and I was glad to play a part, even though it was only as a sub.
"The manager made changes for Friday's game – the likes of Keiren Westwood and Wes Hoolahan came into the XI and he will change it again for the Poland match, which I would have loved to play in. I think Poland away will be a much tougher test than Latvia on Friday."
Yet the fact remains that Ireland play Poland in a friendly tomorrow as the World Cup qualification race heats up with the final legs of the play-offs, a World Cup that has no concern for the Irish or the Poles.
"It it hard to accept that we have something like nine months before the next competitive game," says Reid, now on 29 caps after his appearance against Latvia.
"You look at some of the teams who are in the play-offs and you think that we'd have the ability to be in and around them, but it wasn't to be. So we have to do what we can in the friendly games and be ready for the Euro qualifiers when they come around."