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'My only focus is Ireland this summer' - Roy Keane plays down Celtic job talk

There are always jobs coming up, says the Corkman.

Roy Keane watches the final of the Betfred Snooker World Championships between Mark Selby and Ding Junhui at the Crucible last weekend.
Roy Keane watches the final of the Betfred Snooker World Championships between Mark Selby and Ding Junhui at the Crucible last weekend.
Image: Mike Egerton

IRELAND ASSISTANT MANAGER Roy Keane also played down rumours linking him with the soon-to-be-vacant Celtic job, insisting he is focused on his current role as Ireland assistant boss.

“The only time you think you might be interested in a job, or the only time you know, is if you’re asked,” he told ESPN podcast Beyond the Pitch.

“So this idea of speculation about other clubs… There’s always club jobs coming up.

There’ll be club jobs coming up over the next few weeks. But until someone asks you the question, ‘would you take that job?’, there’s no question to answer.

“And at the moment, my focus is working with (Ireland coach) Martin (O’Neill) and all the players and staff and making sure that we go to the Euros and make Ireland proud. Everything else will fall into place after that.”

Keane also gave his vote of confidence to manager Louis van Gaal, saying he hopes the board allows him to see out the third and final year of his contract at Old Trafford, though he claims there is a distinct lack of character within the team.

Keane said United are still in transition following the departure of their most successful manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, with Van Gaal struggling to restore the club’s status as the Premier League’s dominant force amid reports link Jose Mourinho with a move to Manchester.

Ferguson oversaw United’s most successful period — in which Keane proved a vital player — and the former Republic of Ireland international said winning the FA Cup ahead of Crystal Palace would represent a successful season for Van Gaal and Co.

“It was always going to be difficult, even for David Moyes, after Alex Ferguson,” he said.

But I think if United can win the cup — it might be difficult to finish fourth — I don’t see why United won’t let him finish out the last year of his contract.

“I think Van Gaal has made it clear he’d like to do that. And I hope he does.

“I don’t like sitting around watching managers suffering and I think if they can win the FA Cup then it might just give him the breathing space to finish the job off next year — and that, when we’re talking about Manchester United, is winning league titles, etc.”

Keane said a complete rebuild was not necessary for United, despite their league struggles.

United topped the Premier League in December but have since fallen into fifth and face a mammoth task to overtake cross-town rivals Manchester City in fourth with three games to play.

“Rebuild is too strong a word but there’s a lot of hard work ahead for Man United because of the competition around,” he said.

Leicester coming through. Chelsea will be stronger next year. Man City with a new manager. It’s not going to get any easier for United but if they’re going to recruit again this summer — which it looks like they’ll have to — whatever about getting good players, United probably need two or three characters in the team so that on their bad days they’re capable of grinding out results.

“I just think they don’t have enough characters in that team to get them back to winning league titles at this moment.”

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