“Placid” Keane the right choice for Ireland

“I need to learn my boundaries, when to say something, when to step back and hopefully I’ll get that right.”

As introductory speech go, few have sounded as ominous as Roy Keane’s first press conference since being appointed Republic of Ireland’s assistant manager a little over than a week ago.

From the moment he was chosen as number two to Martin O’Neill, the media have enjoyed a field day, portraying the former Manchester United captain as some kind of mythological monster determined to instil the fear of God in his players.

Granted, the man from Cork doesn’t tolerate failure, nor does he consider it an option, but buying into the stereotype of a man threading carefully on the line of madness, is simply ludicrous.

In fact, Keane more than O’Neill himself, is what the Boys in Green have been so desperate over the last couple of years, a man wanting their man to stand up and be counted when it matters.

Appointing Keane as manager would have been too much of a gamble, considering the former United captain’s disdain for diplomacy and politics, but whatever his detractors might say, the former Sunderland manager knows a lot about football.

“I’m not on some big ego trip, I’ve only been a manager for 20 seconds. It’s not like I’ve spent 20 years as a manager. I can learn from Martin.

“It goes to show how strong Martin is as, unfortunately, people might see me as a threat or some sort of trouble maker. Hopefully Martin has seen something in me; that I have something to offer,” said Keane in yesterday’s press conference, showing that, at least initially, he seems willing to co-operate with his manager.

The most telling quote of Keane’s press conference, however, came when he was asked if he’d consider change his approach.

“There’s nothing to tame, I’m not some sort of animal. I like to work hard and push people and I suppose that sometimes I have got that slightly wrong on one or two occasions, but generally speaking I look back and think I got a lot of it right,” was the typically sharp reply, which should sound both as a warning and encouragement for the Republic of Ireland’s players.

For too long, arguably since Keane’s walked out of Ireland’s training camp in 2002, the Republic have tolerated an attitude that accepts mediocrity, which led to Ireland’s lowering their standards to the point where, as the 42-year-old famously said, they simply “make up the numbers” at major tournaments.

A shortage of quality players has meant Ireland can’t entertain thoughts of success, but Keane has made clear that anything apart from qualification for Euro 2016 would represent failure.

The former United midfielder is well aware that aiming for seemingly unreachable targets is the only way to improve the current standards, and the sooner his players come around to his philosophy, the better.

“Hopefully, the players are in for a pleasant surprise. I know people can believe what they hear and read and, if they’re thinking for some reason that some monster’s going to turn up and, all of a sudden, I’m quite placid, that can help me.”

Nothing to worry about then, placid Roy has a plan.

Will Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill be a successful partnership for the Republic of Ireland? Let us know below or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter

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