Ireland Assistant Manager Roy Keane has found the perfect solution to fulfill his football needs. In becoming Aston Villa’s number two, Keane can combine his day-to-day working urges with the ‘unfinished business’ he has with Ireland, writes Dave O’Grady.
It is almost like Roy has taken one step back in order to go two steps forward. Many were surprised when he was announced as Assistant Manager to Martin O’Neill with Ireland, but for Keane it provided a chance to press ‘control, alt and delete’ and reboot his management career. He has reiterated his willingness to learn from Martin O’Neill and now his full-time Aston Villa role will no doubt further develop his management ambitions.
Many pundits have criticised the move stating that it will not benefit Ireland and that Roy will be preoccupied with Aston Villa and not get the chance to go to games to watch Irish players. This is a little unfair as it is very common that a nation’s Assistant Manager will also hold a full-time role with a club.
You only need to look back to Brian Kerr’s period when managing Ireland. His assistant at the time was Chris Hughton, who held the Assistant Manager post at Tottenham Hotspur. Likewise when Steve Staunton was Ireland manager, his number 2, Kevin MacDonald was the assistant at Aston Villa. Why is it that all of a sudden that you cannot hold the two jobs? Were Chris Hughton and Kevin MacDonald also criticised at the time?
It seems like just another stick used to try and beat Roy Keane with. However, holding down both a club and international job should positively develop any manager. International and domestic games are so different in style, methods, game plans and tactics, it should provide Keane with an all-round sense of the game and how to adapt to different situations. Roy should get the best of both worlds and learn an awful lot.
Finally, from a greedy Irish perspective, it has to be viewed as a good thing. Over the past few years, Aston Villa has been a hothouse for young Irish players coming through. The club has a great reputation for looking after their kids and having a high-profile Irishman like Roy Keane in there, it can only help the likes of Jack Grealish, Samir Carruthers and even Ciaran Clark, to take their careers to the next level.
One thing’s for sure, the Irish management team will be well aware of the young Irish players coming through at Villa. The media will no longer need to beat the drum on this one!
Listen to Dave O’Grady’s full discussion on the YBIG Football Show this week.