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'Is he ready to go? He could very well be' - O'Neill thinks Keane and Celtic would be a good fit

The Ireland manager was speaking about on-going speculation about his assistant’s future.

O'Neill and Keane.
O'Neill and Keane.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

MARTIN O’NEILL SAYS life will go on if his right-hand man decides to return to club management after Euro 2016.

Since taking over from Giovanni Trapattoni in November 2013, the Derryman and assistant manager Roy Keane have worked side-by-side as Ireland clinched qualification to this summer’s European championships via the play-offs.

And while uncertainty hangs over O’Neill’s future as he has yet to agree a new deal with the FAI, former Manchester United and Celtic midfielder Keane has once again been linked with the vacant position at the Scottish Premiership champions.

Keane turned down the Celtic job in 2014 but the 44-year-old is now a candidate to replace Ronny Deila with one bookmaker suspending betting on his appointment earlier this week.

The ex-Sunderland and Ipswich Town boss has repeatedly expressed his desire to give club football another shot, and O’Neill wouldn’t be shocked to see him leave the Ireland set-up if the right move came up.

“Anything can happen between now and the start of next season,” O’Neill said today. “Who can say? I think that Roy will want to manage in his own right and make the decisions, which is important.

“He has been used to making a lot of decisions throughout his life — as a player, captain and as a manager.

“I think this has been very good for him. Will he want to manage on his own again? Absolutely, and if a really good opportunity comes up then I will wish him all the best.”

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SOCCER Keane Keane during his brief spell with Celtic. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Keane spent six months with the Hoops at the end of his playing career, and O’Neill believes his current number two would be well able for the top job in Scottish club football.

“Celtic is one of the great clubs in the world, and Keane was one of the great players in the world so that’s not a bad fit,” added O’Neill, who won three league titles during his time in Glasgow.

Could he do the job? I would have no problems with that whatsoever. Would he be capable of doing that? Absolutely.

“But, as Roy said, you still have to be asked to do it and so far I’m not sure that has been the case.

“I don’t think that he would give things up here lightly, and I think something would have to be, as he often says as his favourite phrase ‘rock his boat’.”

“He has enjoyed it here, I think it has been good for him here. But is he ready to go? Yeah, he could very well be.”

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Ben Blake

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