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'I would dearly like him to join us' - O'Neill wants Roy Keane at Nottingham Forest

The ex-Ireland boss and his assistant manger could be reunited.

MON-Keano: Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.
MON-Keano: Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.
Image: Niall Carson

MARTIN O’NEILL SAYS that he “would dearly like” Roy Keane to join him at Nottingham Forest. 

The ex-Ireland boss was confirmed as Forest’s new manager on Tuesday, returning to the club he spent 10 years with as a player.

The 66-year-old was officially unveiled today and with Keane, his assistant manager at the Boys In Green, widely tipped to join him, O’Neill made it clear that he’d very much like that to happen at the City Ground.

“Well, I would dearly like him to join us,” he told a Nottingham Forest press conference this afternoon when he was asked if Keane would link up with him at the club.

“Since this has happened very, very quickly, he has a number of things to sort out himself. We’ve had some discussions here. I would genuinely like him to do so, I’d like him to join if that’s the case.

“There’s a spot open for him and I’m hoping that that may happen. It may not; he has a number of things he has to consider himself both personally and professionally but he will keep me informed. But I would dearly like him to join up.”

Nottingham Forest Press Conference - City Ground O'Neill addressing the press conference. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

O’Neill won a league title and two European Cup medals as a player under Brian Clough at Forest, while Keane started his career in England at the same club under the same manager.

O’Neill added: “He was a great asset to me when I was the manager and he was the assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland. We had some really great days.

“Tough to handle, there’s no doubt at all about it, but you know that with him and that’s probably what makes him pretty special. He was a special player, a fantastic footballer, drove Manchester United on for 10 years. He didn’t win those things by just sitting around.”

Forest are currently ninth in the Championship, four points off the play-off spots having recently parted company with Aitor Karanka. Understandably, O’Neill’s goal is to steer them to the Premier League.

Soccer - Football League Division One - Nottingham Forest v Liverpool O'Neill lining out for Forest in 1979. Source: EMPICS Sport

“It has probably not sunk in yet as things have happened very quickly,” he added. 

“It goes without saying that it’s a privilege and an honour to be manager of the club. I have a lot of very fond memories here. I had 10 years here as a player, and the last five were pretty exceptional.

“It’s a long time since the club has been in the big league and I am going to try and see if I can rectify that. That’s really my job for the next 18 months.”

You can watch the full press conference, via BBC Nottingham Sport, here:

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Emma Duffy

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