Martin O’Neill was hired as Republic of Ireland soccer coach, replacing Giovanni Trapattoni who left after failing to lead the team to the 2014 World Cup. Former Ireland captain Roy Keane was appointed as his assistant.
The duo will take charge for Ireland’s next game, a Nov. 15 exhibition match against Latvia in Dublin, the Football Association of Ireland said last night.
“Martin was the board’s preferred candidate from the outset and to have someone of the caliber of Roy Keane as his assistant manager is a real plus,” FAI President Paddy McCaul said in a statement.
O’Neill, 61, was fired by Sunderland in March. He’s also managed Wycombe, Norwich, Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa in his 23-year coaching career. As a player, he captained Northern Ireland at the 1982 World Cup after winning the European Cup with Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.
Keane, 42, is a former Ireland skipper who played for Manchester United for 12 years through 2005 and has coached Sunderland and Ipswich. He walked out of the 2002 World Cup after falling out with then Ireland coach Mick McCarthy over training facilities.
“I think I’m the bad cop and he’s the bad, bad cop,” O’Neill said last night on ITV, for whom both he and Keane were working as analysts for Manchester United’s Champions League match against Real Sociedad.
Trapattoni ended a five-year stint as Ireland coach in September after defeats against Sweden and Austria all but ended its chances of reaching the World Cup. The team finished fourth in its group, with 14 points from 10 matches.
Ireland lost all three games at the 2012 European Championship. Qualification for the next edition in 2016 begins in 10 months.
“I’m honored Martin has asked me to work with him,” said Keane. “I’m looking forward to working with the players and getting to the Euros.”