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'Realistically, where am I going to go back to? The Championship? Top of League One?'

‘Perception, that’s the most important word in football. People think I’m probably not up to it, they see me on the television and see me as a bit of a headcase. I don’t think I am.’

Roy Keane has opened up on managerial ambitions.
Roy Keane has opened up on managerial ambitions.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

ROY KEANE HAS expressed his desire to return to management but admits he might have to settle for a job in League One, after holding casual talks with a Championship club this summer.

The former Sunderland and Ipswich Town boss has not been in charge of a side since departing Portman Road in 2011.

Keane spent five years as Martin O’Neill’s No.2 with the Republic of Ireland, as well as most recently at Nottingham Forest where the pair lasted just six months in 2019.

The Cork man was also Paul Lambert’s right-hand man at Aston Villa in 2014 but quite that role to concentrate on the international side.

roy-keane Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

He has since become one of Sky Sports’ most prominent Premier League pundits and, speaking to current Sky colleague and former Manchester United teammate Gary Neville on his You Tube show, The Overlap, Keane was honest in his assessment of where his stock in management currently stands.

“I’m pretty content at what I’m doing at the moment. But I have my days where I can be restless like everybody else. I think I’d want to be careful about what I wish for. I’m saying to you would I want to get back into management, but realistically where am I going to go back to? The Championship? Top of League One?

Obviously it’s not easy. When I went into management, Sunderland were second bottom of the Championship. Sunderland was a great club for me. I could have done better at Ipswich but there were plusses at Ipswich.

“So I think there is something in there where I could be a good manager, that’s what’s kind of pulling at me to go back in.”

Keane earned promotion to the Premier League with Sunderland in 2007 and kept them in the top flight the following season before quitting after falling out with the club’s new American owner Ellis Short.

He was then sacked by Ipswich after less than two seasons in charge and has not had a top job since, with the 50-year-old opening up on his own shortcomings during those times, as well as why his relationship with Short broke down.

“Perception, that’s the most important word in football. Perception is reality… People think I’m probably not up to it, they see me on the television and see me as a bit of a headcase. I felt out with [Mick] McCarthy, [Alex] Ferguson, he’s trouble. I don’t think I am.


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manager-roy-keane Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I go to Sunderland, we get promoted. That’s down to the players, the players were brilliant, and I got good backing, good recruitment.

“We stay up in the Premier League, I see managers now when they stay up they’re getting carried around the pitch. I remember being in the dressing room still a bit agitated that we could have done better.

“The dynamics changed [with Ellis Short at Sunderland]. The respect. The way he used to speak to me. I didn’t like the way he used to speak to me, just the tone of his voice. I go back to when I left Man United, even with Ireland, if people speak down to me or show a lack of respect, that does irritate me.

“My last conversation with Ellis Short, he was like ‘you need to move up to the area’. I was 35, 36, why should a guy be telling me, a married man with five kids, where I should be living? I still think there’s a way of saying it. I feel as if I should only answer to my Dad. I shouldn’t be spoken down to.”

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