“But these lads were idiots anyway.”
Roy Keane has called some of the Republic of Ireland players he worked with “idiots.” In a wide-ranging interview with Gary Neville, Keane touched on a series of topics from his eventful career, including his five-year stint as Ireland assistant manager under Martin O’Neill.
The pair helped Ireland reach Euro 2016, but their tenure ended on a low note in 2018 with the team struggling. Keane has admitted that he fell out with some of the players.
Roy Keane on working as Ireland assistant manager.
“In terms of job satisfaction, the Irish setup was brilliant,” Keane said on The Overlap.
“We had a good dressing room and group. It was well short in terms of quality, but we had a good group.
“At the end, with Ireland, one or two players started pissing me off. Not training properly, talking a good game and I eventually fell out with one or two players.
“I think that is part of the game and I think you are supposed to fall out. People don’t fall out with people. I think people need to challenge each other.”
Roy Keane on the Ireland players he fell out with.
Keane said that he simply challenged the Ireland players, and some reacted by falling out with him, possibly because they sought media exposure.
He also said some of those he had disputes were “idiots” who “didn’t want to train.”
“I’ve heard some players saying that they fell out with me,” the former Manchester United captain said.
“I go, ‘I never fell out with you?’ I think they enjoy the buzz.
'People might look where Ireland are and think well it can't get any worse!
I think it will.'
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 19, 2020
“They think they challenged me. No, I fell out with one or two players with Ireland because they were turning up not wanting to train.
“I was looking at all their stats, watching them every week, and I was looking at them going, ‘You are not playing and you don’t want to train. You are idiots.
“But these lads were idiots anyway. People might think it is just because they are footballers. No, they’d be idiots if they were working on a building site.”
Roy Keane on leaving the Ireland job.
Keane also said that it was a “disgrace” that he and O’Neill lost their jobs.
“We lost our jobs because we weren’t winning enough matches towards the end, which is a disgrace really because they replaced Martin with Mick McCarthy and then Stephen Kenny, but that’s another story.”
You can watch the full interview below, with the section on Ireland beginning at around 31 minutes.