Saturday 21 September 2019

Robbie: I want to keep FAI role

Keane will combine club and country as Boro assistant boss

DUAL STAR: Robbie Keane will continue as Ireland assistant coach. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
DUAL STAR: Robbie Keane will continue as Ireland assistant coach. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Robbie Keane says he only took up the offer of working with Championship side Middlesbrough on condition that he was able to continue his role with the Republic of Ireland.

And Ireland boss Mick McCarthy has given his blessing to Keane's move to Boro and says he's "thrilled" for the Dubliner as he joins Jonathan Woodgate's coaching staff.

The Championship club confirmed yesterday that Keane would accept the offer to work with new manager Woodgate as his assistant, while the FAI confirmed that Keane would retain his coaching role with McCarthy's senior Ireland squad.

"I am thrilled for Robbie as he takes the next step in his path to becoming a top manager," McCarthy said.

"He told me about it the minute he was offered the job and I told him that it was only a runner if he continued with Ireland.

"We are building for the future with this Ireland team and Robbie is a key part of that. He has made a big impression on the players and the staff already as my assistant coach and this new role will only improve him which works for Middlesbrough and, most importantly, for Ireland."

In a statement issued by the FAI, Keane said that keeping his FAI post was a deal-breaker.

"This is a great opportunity for me on my pathway to a manager's job in the future and I am very excited about it," Keane said.

"I am also grateful to the FAI and to Mick McCarthy for allowing me to take this role and to continue with Ireland. I made it very clear to everyone at Middlesbrough that I would not be coming here if I had to give up my Ireland role and they are happy to agree. Ireland means everything to me as it always has done and I look forward now to helping the team in our bid to make the Euro finals and those games in Dublin."

A club statement said: "Middlesbrough Football Club are delighted to confirm that Jonathan Woodgate will head up a new-look senior coaching team.

"Jonathan has been appointed as the club's new head coach and has agreed a three-year contract.

"Our former captain will be joined by his ex-Leeds and Tottenham team-mate, and current Republic of Ireland assistant manager Robbie Keane, Leo Percovich, who was previously on the coaching staff at the club from 2013-2017, and one-time Boro man Danny Coyne, as goalkeeping coach.

"There was huge interest in the coaching positions following the departure of Tony Pulis and in a robust process the club spoke with a number of potential candidates both in the UK and abroad.

"It was during this procedure that it became clear that Jonathan was the outstanding candidate to head up the new structure, and his staff bring a wealth of experience and knowledge.

"Jonathan's vision is very much aligned to our own for the club as we look to develop a new identity."

Woodgate's challenge is to end Boro's exile from the Premier League after they missed out on promotion.

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