Mick McCarthy explains Robbie Keane's role in new Ireland setup
"I think he will have a real affinity with the younger players."
Mick McCarthy and Robbie Keane are back working together for the Republic of Ireland. In his first spell as Ireland manager 20 years ago, McCarthy gave Keane his debut.
The former Liverpool striker went on to become the country's record goalscorer and the most capped Irish player in history.
Now, over 16 years since they were last involved with the Ireland team together, they're back working alongside each other as the side attempts to qualify for Euro 2020.
McCarthy was unveiled as the new Ireland manager on Sunday in Dublin.
He will be joined in the post by Terry Connor, his long-time assistant who worked with him at Wolves and Ipswich Town, and Keane, who will be part of McCarthy's coaching staff.
However, unlike Ireland's previous management duo of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane, Mick and Robbie won't be dubbed a "dream team."
It appears that the former Ireland captain will be the junior member of McCarthy's coaching staff, and a link between the players in the squad and the manager.
"He’s been with me since 2006," McCarthy said about Connor. "Robbie is a different one. He once asked me if I would consider him helping out in some way, a coaching role, management role, just to be part (of the setup) and work with me.
"I gave it some thought, and I have to say… I’m coming up 60, and TC is 56… I kind of like the idea of a young coach, an assistant who’s got bright ideas. He’s the most capped, top goal scorer.
"I think he will have a real affinity with the younger players. All these guys coming through, he’s their hero. I think that’s a real benefit for me.
"And he’ll be driving up and down the country looking at players and having his backside in the car, getting sick of watching teams and reporting to me and TC."
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 25, 2018
McCarthy also expanded on how Keane ended up joining his coaching staff. According to the former Sunderland manager, it was Keane who first suggested the idea.
"It was suggested to me by him, by Robbie," he said.
"At first, I thought, 'you cheeky bollocks', to be quite honest."
McCarthy went on to praise Keane. He also said that the former Tottenham striker should still be involved with the Ireland team when Stephen Kenny becomes the manager in 2020.
"He is cheeky, he played cheekily. I gave him his debut," he said about Keane.
"There’s more to him, he's serious about his football. He loved his football. Sometimes you used to clap him in training, some of the things he did. Such a talent.
"He’s got his head screwed on in terms of wanting to be a coach, a manager in his own right. If you're talking about succession, whatever happens to me in two years’ time, he should be part of that succession."