The Irish Mail on Sunday

Standing in his way if an offer comes’


I’d be disappoint­ed if it went through that he’s gone, but I wouldn’t really be standing in his way in that sense.

‘He was linked also as assistant to [Louis] Van Gaal at Manchester United, he is being linked everywhere. It genuinely isn’t a problem to me. Obviously it may well be when he is actually specifical­ly asked for a managerial job. I will deal with that when it comes, if it comes.’

While Keane may continue to work for ITV beyond the World Cup, O’Neill insisted he has no problem with the ex-Ireland and Manchester United captain’s caustic style of punditry but says he will ‘have a word in his ear’ when it comes to criticisin­g potential internatio­nal recruits.

Hull City’s Curtis Davies is eligible but after Keane’s withering assessment of the defender’s chances of making England’s World Cup squad two months ago, he has since made clear he does not want a future with Ireland.

But O’Neill has no issue with Keane’s views on the defender and maintains it’s not the reason why the former Aston Villa man does not wish to play for Ireland.

‘If there was somebody here that I thought he was going to be hypercriti­cal of, and I think has got a chance [of playing for Ireland], I might have a little word in his ear,’ O’Neill said.

‘But really, I think that Curtis Davies’ gripe is not with Roy Keane, it’s with me, that’s all.

‘I bought him in the first place [at Aston Villa] and within three months of him being there, he’d gotten into the England party of 30, at that time under [Fabio] Capello, but he pared it down, he didn’t get into the 23 or whatever the case may be.

‘But his argument at that time was nothing to do really with playing, it was to do with his contract. So Roy adding fuel to the fire, as it were, made Curtis’ mind up, but Curtis Davies had already said one, about me, but two, also, that his grandmothe­r was actually born in Ireland, but she wasn’t Irish.’

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