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29th Jun 2023

Rory Delap named as Robbie Keane’s assistant at Maccabi Tel Aviv

Rory Fleming

Rory Delap

The long-throw specialist joins Keane in his controversial first managerial post.

Former Ireland international Rory Delap has been named as Robbie Keane’s assistant manager at Israeli Premier League side Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The ex-Stoke City defender heads to the Israeli capital days after former teammate Keane was announced as the club’s manager, in what is his first lead coaching role.

Delap, whose stardom rocketed following his ascension to the Premier League as Stoke’s long-throw specialist, has been forging his own coaching career since retiring almost a decade ago.

Rory Delap named as Robbie Keane’s assistant coach at Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Initially working in Derby County’s academy upon retirement, Delap returned to Stoke in 2018 where he has worked as part of the club’s first team backroom staff, including a stint as caretaker in 2019.

Keane has also been joined by another familiar face from the Irish footballing world, with the former Ireland fitness coach Andy Liddell linking up with the 23-time Israeli league winners.

The former League of Ireland frontman worked under Mick McCarthy during his second spell at the helm of the Boys in Green, in a period which also saw Keane involved as an assistant to McCarthy.

Robbie Keane Israel

Controversy surrounding Keane’s appointment:

Keane’s appointment at Maccabi has brought about a wave of criticism, with prominent figures such as Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews this week tweeting;

“Very, very disappointing that Irish football icon Robbie Keane would sign up with racist and apartheid club Maccabi Tel Aviv. Keane is in a position to set an example and boycott apartheid, but chose not to!!”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s record goalscorer defended himself by declaring “I don’t want to get into politics”.

Keane then went on to add in a testy press conference that he would no longer broach the topic of Israel’s actions towards Palestine, saying that;

“You have to start somewhere… This is the last time I will say it. I’m here as a football man and someone that loves the game. I will certainly just focus on that”.

Moreover, Dublin Mid-West TD Mark Ward waded into the controversy surrounding Keane’s first managerial post, stating in the Dáil chamber yesterday that his decision to manage Maccabi was “sports washing by Israel’s apartheid regime”.

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