Martin O’Neill has admitted for the first time that some of his players were nervous about Roy Keane joining his Ireland management – but he believes the Corkman will be a resounding success as his number two.

Speaking at an event in Naas, Co. Kildare, O’Neill claimed, “I personally think he’ll be fantastic for the nation. He’s already made a great impression on the players themselves, who I think secretly might have been a little bit concerned but he’s been really excellent.

“He wants to do it. He has enthusiasm which is always there and is there in abundance. If enthusiasm alone was to get us through that would be great but unfortunately we need a bit of luck along the way. We’ve got some decent players as well.”

O’Neill also told the media that he wants to emulate recent successes enjoyed by the Irish team in European Championship and World Cup qualification.

“It would be great to be successful with the Republic of Ireland, following in the footsteps of an absolutely fantastic manager in Giovanni Trapattoni,” O’Neill said.

“It’s hopefully going to be a bit of fun along the way. We’ll hopefully get Roy smiling once or twice and everybody might be happy.

“I just want to say something about him, when I mentioned to him if he fancied it, he jumped at the chance. He jumped at it immediately and said, ‘Let’s go and do it, it will be great.’”