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12th Dec 2023

Roy Keane cracks up entire studio as England’s Euro 2024 chances debated

Patrick McCarry

Roy Keane

Leaning into the naysayer role so well!

Roy Keane famously took a cut off Ian Wright and everyone else on the England bandwagon, back at the 2018 World Cup, when a few were getting ahead of themselves.

Many English supporters were looking beyond Croatia, back then, only to lose to Luka Modric & Co. The party atmosphere, over in the ITV studio at the time, changed after that 2-1 defeat. Keane lashed into chief tub-thumper, Wright:

“You were talking about the final. Thinking about where the parades were. You need a reality check!”

“We weren’t talking about a final,” Wright argued, “we were just having a laugh. We were happy, and you weren’t happy with us being happy!”

Five years and one Euro 2020 (actually in 2021) close call later, Roy Keane is thinking, ‘This lot are at it again’.

During a wide-ranging chat on Euro 2024 – now that the group stage draw has been made – Keane engaged in some lively debate with Wright, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher on Stick to Football. English confidence was high, with names like Bellingham, Foden, Saka and Kane getting three-quarters of that panel close to carried away.

Luckily, Keane was back for that reality check refresher.

Roy KeaneRoy Keane has the Stick to Football panel in stitches.

Roy Keane on England’s Euro 2024 chances

During the show, talk inevitably switched to how England would fare at Euro 2024, which takes place in Germany next summer.

Gary Neville and Roy Keane opted for France, in their predictions, while Jamie Carragher and Ian Wright went with England. “You know something,” Wright observed, “France have to be the favourites, but you know what, I’m gonna say England. I’m gonna say England because we’ve been so close and I think this is probably the real, last go at it.”

“I wanna say England, Wrighty,” Neville replied, “and I swear I so hope that they win it, but honestly, I just feel that somehow, that know-how and that getting over the line follows you around a little bit. And I just don’t know what the difference is this time. Could it be Bellingham, maybe? In the sense of the form he’s in now.

“I just feel that France, the somehow, the knowhow, their game management, their big moments, I just feel like you’re not gonna beat them. You say [William] Saliba’s a sub, do you know what I mean? Mbappe’s a freak [too].”

All eyes then turned to Keane, the former Ireland captain and one (kind of) neutral in the room.

One wonders if Neville was deliberately on the wind-up when he read out England’s potential route to the final – Italy (quarters), France (semis) and Germany, Portugal or Spain in the final.

“You’re already in the final,” declared Keane, “aye?!

“Take that [group stages board] away! Jesus Christ, they haven’t won anything!”

“Be careful of the group stages,” he warned. “You should get over this thing that England are going to coast through the group… Denmark are no mugs. Serbia, too.”

Saying all that, Keane stated that England ‘are in great shape’ and there should not be any issues regarding potential to go deep in the tournament, or belief they can win it.

Roy Keane on Ireland struggles

Later in the same episode, talk turned to the struggles experienced by Ireland and what the future looks like, now that Stephen Kenny is being replaced as manager.

Gary Neville wondered, aloud, if the Premier League recruiting far beyond Great Britain and Ireland had “destroyed” the likes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in terms of giving their best players top level club experience.

Keane did agree that there ‘was not enough guys playing week-in, week-out in the Premier League’ but argued that it has often been a struggle for Ireland to qualify for major tournaments.

“The one big hope we have, and you don’t want to put too much on him, is that kid Evan Ferguson, at Brighton. He has to stay fit, play well and, even then, it is unfair to put all the pressure on him,” said Keane.

“If you look at the options Ireland have, a lot of them are down in the Championship.”

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