Reports in Dublin this week suggest that Keane, the former Irish international soccer captain who left the team before the 2002 World Cup in a dispute with then manager Mick McCarthy and later retired from international football, and Irish manager Brian Kerr are about to sit down for another meeting on Friday. That’s Good Friday, but whether it will lead to an agreement that will mark keane’s return to the team is too early to say.
According to sources, Keane and Kerr have already spoken on the telephone. You may remember that Keane hinted that he may have some unfinished international business the day after the Republic’s game against Brazil last month. He was speaking at a function in Dublin for the Irish Guide Dogs Association and must have known that his comments would have been seized on by the Irish media.
At first Kerr said he was willing to listen to any player who was willing to change his mind. But Kerr later told a group of journalists in rather colorful language that the ordinary Irish supporters couldn’t care whether Roy Keane ever played for Ireland again.
But that may all be a smokescreen. Kerr has never actually said that he personally doesn’t want Keane back.
The pair met in February last year, shortly after Kerr was appointed. Keane told the manager he was willing to come back, but was then talked out of it by his Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
Keane looked composed as he led Manchester United to victory over Arsenal last weekend and got in more tackles, nine, than any of the other 21 players on the pitch. So although he may not be as fit as in recent years, there’s no doubt the Corkman could still do a fine job in midfield for Ireland.