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Friday 20 April 2018

Roy preaches positivity and leaves Fergie questions for 'another day'

ROY KEANE faced every question which was put to him head on in the Grand Hotel Malahide but placed the subject of Alex Ferguson firmly off limits.

Not before, however, he made it very plain what he feels about the deeply unflattering picture painted by Ferguson in his recently published autobiography. Could there be legal action down the line?

"The beauty of football is that everybody has opinions and I've no problem with that. The issue I'll have is when anybody who seems to talk about me or has issues with what I've said in the past and people will just tell lies about me, that's when I'll come out and defend myself.

"I'm not going to sit here and defend myself regarding Alex Ferguson. That's for another day. I'm not really going to get into that too much.

"Football is about opinions, no problem about that, but when it's lies that's when you come out and say something. Today is not for that.

"Today is about talking about getting back involved with the Irish team with Martin, all positive. It's not an area I want to go at today."

Presumably, he will revisit the subject in the future but whether that is in a media briefing or the libel court remains to be seen.

 

Focused

It was the only vaguely sour note in a very positive press conference which focused firmly on what Keane can bring to his new job.

Apparently he wants to throw an arm around Ireland's young players and give them the benefit of his huge experience but he won't hesitate if something a bit less genial is required.

Asked whether he could become an uncle or fatherly figure, he laughed: "I could be, yes, if things go well. If we are winning, yes. Jesus," he laughed. "Listen, you all have an uncle you don't really like, don't you?"

One of the first candidates for a shoulder to cry on may well be Stephen Ireland and Keane stressed that he will only get involved in an attempt to reintegrate the Stoke City midfielder if first Martin O'Neill wants it and then the player.

"It's great to see him back playing. We only got the job last week. I'm sure there's lots of areas Martin will look at, lads who've maybe been off the scene," said Keane. "I know a few lads have come back, people like Stokesie (Anthony Stokes). If we feel Ireland has any bit of interest in coming back, playing again and Martin gets involved and wants me to get involved, then we've got to do our best to get these players back on board. Absolutely. Particularly now that he's back playing."

"It's important that he focuses on his club career, he's only played a few games over the last month or two.

"But if that's an area Martin wants me to look at and speak to players. I wouldn't say I know him too well, the player, but I'd like to think that he'd certainly be open to having some sort of conversation.

"We'll do our best to get him back involved, if that's what he wants."

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