Friday, May 1, 2009

Roy Keane on Stephen Ireland

Roy Keane has spoken about the continuing saga regarding Stephen Ireland's self inflicted exile from the Ireland international squad and the criticism of Trapattoni regarding Andy Reid's exclusion from the squad during the present World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I remember hearing about Brian Clough trying to get Archie Gemmill to sign for Forest – he slept on his sofa. That’s what I’d do with Stephen . . . well, I wouldn’t sleep on his sofa, I would sleep outside his house to try and get him back for Ireland,” he said.

“I’m sure (Giovanni) Trapattoni has done all he can to get him back, but he would obviously make a big, big difference to the Irish team. He’s pure quality, the lad. He’s been one of the most consistent players in the Premier League this season, in an inconsistent Manchester City team.

“But, having said that, if he doesn’t want to play – and he’ll have his own reasons, stuff we might never know about – then that has to be respected. Unfortunately. But you never know: never say never. He’s retired from international football, but lots of players have done that and come back,”
he laughed.

Would Ireland, long-term, regret his decision not to play for his country? “Ah well, I don’t think you have regrets, but you do make mistakes. What I would say to him if I ever bumped in to him in Manchester – whether or not he’d want to chat to me I don’t know – is ‘listen, your career is over before you know it. If you have the opportunity to play for Ireland under a good manager then go for it’.

“As I said, I don’t know the lad, I’ve never met him, he might have a reason for not coming back and we have to respect it, whatever it might be. But I’d persevere – if I was Trapattoni I would literally sleep outside his house.”

The prospect, though, of Keane sleeping outside Trapattoni’s house in an effort to convince him that Andy Reid is worth an international recall seems remote. “The fuss about Reidy being left out of the squad is unbelievable, way over the top,” he said of the player he signed for Sunderland in January of last year.

“Andy Reid doesn’t deserve to be in the Irish squad at this moment in time. He’s not doing enough.

“That’s what I like about Trapattoni, he’s an experienced manager, he looks at players who are in form, who are playing week in, week out. It’s not as if Ireland are having bad results. I think they’re doing very well, I have to say I’ve been impressed – look at the players we’ve got, I think they’re all playing to their maximum. The likes of Reidy, (Lee) Carsley, one or two others, don’t have too much to complain about, to be honest with you.

“Trapattoni has more experience than all of us put together, so I wouldn’t dare question what he’s doing.”

He did, though, question Trapattoni’s “loyalty” to a couple of his players, who Keane refused to name, ones he said were “playing on past reputations”. “You pick players on their form. (Fabio) Capello seems to do it. It’s all well and good being loyal to players, but there’s a fine line between loyalty and stupidity. One or two players just turn up and they’re picked for Ireland. One in particular . . . he’s picked every time he comes over, I can’t work that one out.”

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