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17th Oct 2023

Andy Townsend on what stands between Roy Keane and Ireland job

Lee Costello

Roy Keane

“If that comes his way, that’s when he’ll be gone.”

Former Republic of Ireland captain Andy Townsend believes that Roy Keane should be a strong candidate to replace Stephen Kenny, but says that certain hurdles stand in his way.

Despite beating Gibraltar 4-0 last night, Kenny’s time in charge has ultimately been deemed as unsuccessful as he failed to qualify for any major tournaments.

The defeat to Greece last Friday put the final nail in the coffin for their Euro 2024 hopes, and many believe that it is time up for the current manager.

Speculation has already begun regarding his potential replacement, with names like Rafa Benetiz, Gus Poyet, and Sam Allardyce being tossed around.

However, Keane is one of the few candidates who is actually Irish, and his former teammate Townsend, believes that he could be successful in role.

“I don’t think his bug for wanting to get back in as a manager has ever gone away,” Townsend told TalkSPORT.

“I’m sure, from his point of view, he would relish another opportunity. I’ve actually always said that I think Roy could be a very good manager, I still believe that.”

Being a good manager isn’t always enough to get you the role though, and the ex Ireland captain believes that there are certain obstacles standing in Keane’s way.

“The difficulty now is that those around him might wind him up again to the point that he just explodes and he’s gone in the middle of the night. It could be one of those.

“The environment and the particular club he’s working for or association he’s working for, and how much they let him get on with it – if they let him get on with it I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t go and have a degree of success.

“The hard part nowadays would be allowing him to do the job as he sees fit without interference. If that comes his way, that’s when he’ll be gone.

“He had his spell with Martin already, from an Ireland point-of-view. As I mentioned, I think Stephen Kenny’s done now, there’s nowhere for him. It’s got so flat and so poor. People are now starting to become disinterested, the Irish football team has become insignificant.

“You can’t have that, you’ve got to have someone in there who can start to get the fire in the bellies once more and get them going in the right direction.

“Someone like Roy Keane would absolutely do that, but would the FAI take him as a coach? I’m not so sure they probably would.”

As it stands, Kenny is in still charge of the national team, but it seems inevitable that his tenure will come to an end soon, and if Keane is interested then they will have to seriously consider him.

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