Scott Hogan is one of the newest names to join the Republic of Ireland set-up for the upcoming games with Moldova and Wales.
It can be daunting heading to a new group of work colleagues but when your childhood idol is your new assistant manager then the nerves can really kick in. Hogan, however, got the chance to settle his nerves by bumping into the ex-Manchester United captain as they boarded the plane for Dublin.
The 25-year-old self-confessed Manchester United supporter admitted he was starstruck when Keane greeted him as he boarded the plane to his first training session with the Ireland set-up.
As reported in the Irish Independent, this is what the Salford native had to say:
“Don’t get me wrong, I was a bit nervous meeting him. I met him getting on to the plane, actually, and it is a bit of a shock.
“But at the end of the day, he is here to help, so you have got to get over that. I was a bit star-struck, to be honest with you, but you get over it. Well, sort of, you do.
“It’s quite interesting to say Roy Keane is teaching you how to play football.”
Hogan’s first call-up was a drawn out affair with many fearing the striker would choose to represent England just like Villa teammate Jack Grealish who disappointed O’Neill by opting against joining the Irish set up.
Hogan suggests, however, it would have been difficult to say no if Roy Keane had made contact earlier.
“I remember saying to my family, ‘If Roy Keane rang, I don’t think I’d know what to say, I don’t think I’d be able to say no regardless of what state I was in’.
“When I met up with the manager a few weeks back and I said that to him, he said, ‘If I’d have known that, I’d have told him to ring you straight away’.
“For me – for anyone, really – just to work with him, in terms of Irish players who have gone over to England and won things, he’s got to be right up there for what he has done in football and Manchester United.
“I don’t hide the fact I’m a big Manchester United fan. I grew up when United won everything, so I was lucky.”
The former Brentford striker recalls watching the Champions League final in 1999 when Manchester United beat Bayern Munich with Roy Keane banned and watching from the stands.
“Obviously Eric Cantona was the king, as they called him. I was a bit young, but I watched the videos of people like him. But I actually grew up watching Roy Keane.
“I remember watching when they beat Juventus in Turin and he was banned for the [1999 Champions League] final, and it was just… My dad was telling me how incredible it was.
“You won’t see many things like that happen on a pitch, so it was definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, Roy Keane.”
Ireland themselves could do with a dramatic finish to their World Cup qualifying campaign if Hogan wants to follow in the footsteps of his idol Keane and represent his country at a World Cup.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena