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Roy: A future Greener

Brian Kerr has not only brought Roy Keane back on side – he may just have helped appoint a future manager of Ireland.

Tony Cascarino, 22 Apr 2004

Never mind wanting to wear the green shirt again, Roy Keane’s motivation for returning to the international fold is that he thinks it’ll one day help him become Ireland manager. To do that he needs support from not just within the FAI but the public who are still a bit thick with him over what happened in Saipan. He knows that a couple of good performances in the World Cup qualifiers and all will be forgiven. I’m sure that’ll extend to the players who’ll be professional enough to go “what’s past is past” and welcome Roy back into the squad. The bottom line is that it’s Brian Kerr’s decision and he’s said, “Yeah, I want him.”

As for whether Brian’s right, my attitude is: “Why go looking for potential replacements when the proven one’s there?” The gulf might close after he’s been at Old Trafford for a while but, young legs or not, Liam Miller isn’t one quarter the player that Roy Keane is.

Forget that he’s had a by his standards average season for United and doesn’t get from box to box like he used to, Keano is still a master of keeping the ball and making things tick-over in midfield – which is the area Ireland’s most lacking in at the moment.

The one thing I can’t accept about all of this is Alex Ferguson being happy with Roy’s decision. We won’t know for sure until the summer, but I reckon it’ll spur him into bringing in a big name who’ll manage more than 20 Premiership starts a campaign. Don’t be fooled by his lack of ranting and raving – Sir Alex convinced everybody last year that all was well with David Beckham following the boot incident when obviously it wasn’t.

One possible scenario is that he’s agreed with the PLC to give Roy a golden handshake and let him go to Celtic where he’s said he wants to end his career. It’s the SPL, sure, but he’d still be playing in front of 60,000 capacity home crowds and winning things which there’d be no guarantee of doing at an Aston Villa or Spurs. In fact, there’s no way he’ll ever play for another Premiership club besides United.

Going back to him eventually wanting to be Ireland manager, Roy Keane’s single-mindedness is second to none. He’d sell his granny for three points which is the lack of sentiment you need at that level. If a tough decision needs making, he’ll make it. You can’t tell until somebody’s in the job, but I suspect that he’d adapt to management as well as Didier Deschamps has at Monaco. Aimé Jacquet said to me that he’d be the next French coach, and I think he’s right.

Staying with managers for a moment, it’s only a matter of time before Gerard Houlier and Claudio Rainieri lose their respective jobs. To get booed off the pitch once at Anfield is bad enough, but two weeks in a row? There’s no way the Liverpool board’s going to stand for that, especially as it makes their chances of holding on to Michael Owen and Steven Gerard almost non-existent. Rainier’s different in that the fans all love him, but even if he wins the Champions’ League I think he’ll be looking for a new job at the end of the season. Which coming from Serie A where there’s no job security whatsoever won’t phase him too much.

We all say it doesn’t interest us, but every conversation I’ve had or overheard these past few weeks has involved David Beckham. This isn’t a very nice thing to say but I don’t have much sympathy for Victoria. Every time you see her in a photograph she’s flicking her hair and posing, which doesn’t play well with the public or the people I know at Man U who scarcely have a good word to say about her. It might help if she released a decent record once in a while, but as it is, she makes it very easy for people to dislike her.

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