Roy Keane has admitted there was never a chance of him turning down the assistant manager’s job with Ireland when Martin O’Neill made the shock offer – and denied he is an accident waiting to happen in the position.
Keane addressed the media for the first time in his new role just two days before Friday night’s win over Latvia and insisted he is “not an animal who needs taming.”
“There’s nothing to tame. I’m a footballing man, I like to work hard and push people, and sometimes I suppose I have got that slightly wrong on one or two occasions over the years,” Keane said.
“But generally speaking, I look back and I think I have got a lot of it right. Yes, there are areas I need to look at, particularly as now I’m the assistant, when to step back, and hopefully I get that right as well.
“But I am also there to push the players and put demands on the players, like we did today in training. We have got some good players and sometimes the players themselves are the last to realize how good they are.
“We have got some really good young players and we have got to push them and put demands on them because from my own experience, I used to like that. I used to like people pushing me.”
The Corkman also insisted that the past is the past – including his infamous Saipan bust-up with Mick McCarthy when he was sent home from the 2002 World Cup.
“I can’t really worry too much about that. It’s about the future and about today and working with the present group of players, and trying to help Martin and the rest of the staff and the team,” Keane said.
“If we can do our jobs properly, hopefully people will get behind the team and there are some good days ahead.
“It’s obviously going to be hard, but I am not here to try to change anybody’s opinion about myself or decisions I have made in the past.
“I have spent years trying to please everybody and, trust me, it’s a waste of time and energy. You have just got to do what you think is right and get on with it.
After new boss Martin O’Neill suggested he would be the “bad cop” to Keane’s “‘bad, bad cop,” the new assistant manager was quick to put the record straight.
Smiling, he insisted, “I think it’s going to be the other way round, I think I am going to have to be the good cop.
“You obviously don’t know Martin as well as you think you do. He makes me look like Mother Teresa. It should be interesting.”
And Keane admitted there was no way he could turn down O’Neill’s offer.
Keane said, “I know people think I am a little bit crazy, but I would have been crazy to have turned it down, it was just too good an opportunity.”