Roy Keane commits wholly to Ireland

Roy Keane in Villa colours: Ireland assistant Roy Keane quite his role of Villa assistant manager last Friday 28 November.

Roy Keane in Villa colours: Ireland assistant Roy Keane quite his role of Villa assistant manager last Friday 28 November.

Another strange is unexpected twist in the life of Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has once again sent the media speculation mill into overdrive following his sudden departure from the payroll of Villa Park last Friday morning (28th). Just four months after being persuaded to accept the role as Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert’s assistant Roy Keane decided that he was unable to combine the two jobs, citing excessive work commitments. “Ultimately, my roles with Villa and Ireland and combining my commitment to these have become too much,” said Keane who added: “It isn’t fair to either Villa or Ireland, so I’ve made this decision.”

Villa manager Paul Lambert said that he ‘totally respected’ the decision made by Keane.

“Roy came to me and he informed me that, ultimately, the difficulty of combining both roles has prompted his decision, which I respect totally. “In the brief period we have worked together he has been great in the role and I understand his reasons for leaving.”

Aston Villa CEO Tom Fox added: “We thank Roy for his time at the Club and we wish him the best with Ireland.”

Strange timing of Keane’s decision

The sudden decision by Keane and especially the timing has therefore led to all sorts of speculation on what is likely to be the Corkman’s next career move in management. Villa are facing some crucial fixtures which could well decide their Premiership status this season while the Republic of Ireland will not be back in competitive action until next March. But for now it would appear that the former Manchester United captain is firmly committed his role as an FAI employee. Although he has said that he wants to focus on his role with Ireland, Keane has also made no secret that his long-term ambitions are to take over in a managerial hot seat once again after stints in charge of Sunderland and Ipswich.

Fully committed to Irish cause

Meanwhile from Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s point of view Villa’s loss will be Ireland’s gain. “I’ve said in the past and it’s worth re-iterating I never had a problem whatsoever with Roy’s commitment to the Republic of Ireland. Everything that I was hoping he would bring to the table, for the want of a better word, I thought he did do. Commitment, the enthusiasm and that strong desire that we know he possesses, all of those things have been no problem whatsoever.” The Ireland manager said that while he was ‘not party to his everyday involvement at Aston Villa’, he believes a hectic summer and his longing to spend more time with his family played crucial roles in his decision to quit the Premier League club.

Question of life’s priorities

The Ireland manager added: “I think that what happened is he didn’t have any summer holiday. He went straight from international duty with us in America, straight to the job at Aston Villa. I think eventually those sort of things catch up with you one side of Christmas or the other and I believe he himself was more concerned with that, more worried about the commitment.”

O’Neill concluded by saying: “I think maybe just a little bit of family time now at the minute, I think that’s perhaps something he was missing.”

Meanwhile some bookmakers have placed a price of 6/4 that Keane’s next move is to take over from O’Neill. Not surprisingly the Villa role is the next on the list at 3/1 with Paul Lambert struggling to get the most out of his Villa side this term. However Roy Keane’s former clubs Celtic, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United are the next three on the list, with Rangers the 100/1 outside shot!