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What Matt Doherty said about Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane after Keane’s criticism of Spurs defender

Matt Doherty Roy Keane

Matt Doherty was less than complimentary about Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane after the pair left the Ireland set-up in 2018.

Roy Keane was in fine form in the Sky Sports studio on Sunday.

The Irishman found himself at odds with Jamie Redknapp while discussing Tottenham Hotspur.

There would be no prizes for guessing how the battle lines were drawn. Redknapp, as a former Spurs player, defended Spurs.

Keane, as someone who once heard his Man United manager say, ‘Lads, it’s Tottenham’, was less complimentary about Jose Mourinho’s team.

In a withering assessment of the current Spurs crop, Keane highlighted Matt Doherty as an example of the deficiencies in the Tottenham squad.

“Doherty. Does anyone really think Doherty’s going to make Spurs a top-four team?! Doherty. Really?” raged the former Man United captain.

Matt Doherty Roy Keane

Matt Doherty on Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill.

While Keane and Redknapp differed over Spurs’ prospects, Redknapp agreed that Doherty and Serge Aurier would not start for teams higher up the table, such as Man United, Liverpool, Man City, or Chelsea.

Listening to Keane’s blunt appraisal of Doherty’s credentials, it was difficult not to hark back to 2018 when Doherty spoke candidly about Martin O’Neill’s tenure as Ireland boss.

After O’Neill and Keane left their roles as Ireland manager and assistant manager respectively, Doherty gave a refreshingly forthright interview to 2fm show Game On.

Roy Keane and Jamie Redknapp involved in heated debate about Spurs live on Sky Sports

“I guess he was Martin’s assistant,” Doherty said when asked what Keane’s role in the Ireland set-up was.

“I guess that he must have fed ideas off him on whatever he was thinking.

“It wasn’t necessarily a case where he would take the session and we’re doing shape (work) or, ‘if the ball goes there, we’re all pushing up lads’.

“It wasn’t a case of him doing that at all. I guess he was just a back-up to Martin. I wouldn’t say he was much of a hands-on, in terms of on the pitch, assistant.”

In the same interview, Doherty admitted that some Ireland players were unsure over what was expected of them in matches and that, at times, O’Neill’s game plan wasn’t clear, describing the former Celtic manager’s approach as ‘old-school’.

“You are kind of thinking to yourself, ‘what shape are we going to play?’”

“Everyone thinks there wasn’t a game plan every time, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes there was, sometimes it was less clear,” he said.

“Compared to the set-up I have at Wolves, you could class it as old-school. When you were away with Ireland, you didn’t really have that much coaching. It was more of five-a-side or 11-a-side game, and that would be it.

“The day before a game you would do a few set-pieces here and there and then go into the game. You are kind of thinking to yourself, ‘what shape are we going to play?’

“You’d have a few players thinking ‘we’ll play this shape’, or someone else thinking something else. You can’t have that, especially at international football, people not really sure on what their role is the next day.

“It is bizarre, but like I said, it didn’t happen all the time. There were odd occasions when it did happen.”

Shortly after, the Times reported that O’Neill was ‘furious’ with Doherty’s comments.

Then, during an interview with Richie Sadlier on the Second Captains podcast in October 2019, Doherty admitted he had exchanged heated words with O’Neill on the phone, which culminated in the former Aston Villa boss hanging up on the full-back.

“The call was not a good call,” Doherty said on The Player’s Chair.

“I don’t know if I should say too much with the risk of getting another call from him, so I don’t have to go through that again. If you were to listen to that, you’d be shocked. It wasn’t a pleasant call between two human beings at all.

“Basically he called me and was like, ‘a friend of mine heard you on the radio.’ But, I answered the phone, and I didn’t know it was him. I was shocked when I realised it was him.

“He called me a ‘tosser’ a few times, and we kinda go back and forth. He was saying some things and I ended up saying, ‘oh you’re a liar’ and stuff like that. And he ended up just hanging up the phone on me.

“I could go into more detail. I just don’t wanna bring it all back up again when it’s totally gone now. It wasn’t a nice phone call, at all.”

Doherty added that his relationship with O’Neill ‘never clicked’.

Matt Doherty Details Heated Phone Conversation With Martin O’Neill

Keane remained on good terms with O’Neill after the end of their Ireland reign, going on to work alongside him at Nottingham Forest.

Tottenham signed Doherty from Wolves for £15m last summer, but the former Bohemians full-back has struggled to find his best form under Mourinho.

Doherty has started nine league games this season, registering one assist. He came on as a late replacement for Serge Aurier in Spurs’ 4-0 win over Burnley on Sunday.

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