Jason McAteer talks about Roy Keane's "destructive" influence 3 years ago

Jason McAteer talks about Roy Keane's "destructive" influence

"Roy is a destructive influence in the camp."

Former Republic of Ireland international Jason McAteer has said that his former teammate Roy Keane may have a 'destructive' influence in Ireland camp and that undecided midfielder Declan Rice may have been put off by his presence in the squad.

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Rice withdrew from Ireland's latest round of internationals last month to take some time out to decide on his international future as considers a potential allegiance switch to his native England, while in the camp, accounts of Keane's confrontations with squad members Harry Arter and Jon Walters went public after a leaked WhatsApp voice message from defender Stephen Ward surfaced online.

Keane joined Martin O'Neill's Ireland coaching staff as an assistant manager in November 2013 but McAteer, who played nearly a decade with Keane for Ireland, said that he was surprised that Keane was allowed back into the set-up set up given his famous exit from the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

"Roy was a great player, but I'm surprised John Delaney in the FAI allowed him back as assistant manager after what happened in 2002," McAteer said on BeIN Sports.

"Declan was privy to the incident between Roy and Harry Arter in May and was put off by the whole experience.

"Roy is a destructive influence in the camp."

McAteer has had a frosty relationship with Keane since his retirement from professional football and the former Liverpool midfielder said at the launch of his autobiography, Blood, Sweat and McAteer in 2016 that Keane has avoided interaction with him since their playing days and that he's brushed him aside on several occasions.

“I couldn't tell you the last time I spoke to him,” McAteer said.

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“People ask me if I'd ever want to make up with Roy Keane but it's not about that, my hand is open and always has been and I'm always there for a chat if he wants to engage. I was at Wembley for a cup final a couple of years ago and I held the door open for him.

“He was working for ITV and I'd been working in the next box but I'd finished. As I walked in I've gone through the door, looked behind me and spotted him and I held the door open for him but he's just walked through it and straight past me without even acknowledging me. It was an opportunity for him to say hello but he didn't want to know."

“I'm also an ambassador for the FAI," he added, "so I've bumped into him in the lounges after games. He comes up and does a bit of speaking and on one occasion, about two or three games ago, he came off the stage after finishing and he had to walk past us on the table. He shook hands with Paul McGrath and Ray Houghton but he just blanked me and carried on walking. But listen, he's got his own reasons.”