“If the FAI or Mick McCarthy had an issue with me considering this job, I’d just have said ‘thanks but no’ to Middlesbrough.”
Robbie Keane has revealed that he has been offered the opportunity to become Middlesbrough’s assistant manager.
Jonathan Woodgate has been named as the new manager of the Championship side, and he wants his former teammate to join him at the Riverside Stadium next season.
Keane is currently working as a coach under Mick McCarthy for the Republic of Ireland. However, he told reporters in Dublin on Wednesday morning that, if he accepts the offer from Woodgate, he will remain in the Ireland set-up.
“It was the first thing I nailed down with the ‘Boro chairman Steve Gibson yesterday when I met him,” Keane said at Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin, where he as fulfilling his duties as an ambassador for Euro 2020.
“That if I go in with Jonathon Woodgate, I can stay with Ireland. I’ve to talk about it with my family, that’s the big thing now. The last few days have been such a whirlwind with the Ireland games. I’ve now got to sit down and think about it. It’s up to me if I want to do it.”
Keane and Woodgate played alongside each other for Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur and the Dubliner said he was surprised to receive the offer.
“I’ve known him for over 20 years. I saw in the papers that he was being linked with Middlesbrough, but never imagined he would ring me about this.”
However, Keane stressed that no decision has been made and that he doesn’t want to “rush” his management career. Ireland’s record goalscorer said Marcello Lippi, the Italian World Cup-winning manager who coached Keane at Inter Milan, advised him to tread carefully.
“Last summer, I met Marcello Lippi while I was on holidays. He told me, ‘Robbie, don’t rush your management career, you have maybe 40 years ahead of it for you, don’t rush it’.”
“So, I’ve taken his words to heart and now I’ve a big decision to make. But it won’t affect Ireland, that’s for sure. If the FAI or Mick McCarthy had an issue with me considering this job, I’d just have said ‘thanks but no’ to Middlesbrough.”
Roy Keane, when he was assistant manager of Ireland, worked briefly as Paul Lambert’s assistant coach for Aston Villa. It will be interesting to see if Robbie tries to do something similar.