Republic of Ireland have announced Martin O’Neill as their new manager in a good-cop, bad-cop double act with Roy Keane as assistant.
Keane is sure to instil the fear factor alongside O’Neill’s more passive approach, but the appointment runs the risk of creating tension in the dressing room.
Giovanni Trapattoni departed the post after the Boys in Green failed to qualify for next summer’s World Cup, and the FAI have taken their time in choosing the Italian’s successor.
O’Neill has been out of work since being fired by Sunderland earlier this year. Meanwhile, Keane has been trying his hand at punditry work but he will now revisit his turbulent relationship with Irish football.
Himself a former Sunderland manager, Keane was criticised during his time in charge of the Black Cats due to his authoritarian style of management, and his notorious temper could make it difficult for him to play second fiddle to O’Neill.
O’Neill is certainly a wise choice having gained a dossier of experience managing Wycombe, Norwich, Leicester, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland, and has previously been linked with the Manchester United job on a number of occasions.
However, despite his calm temperament and quiet manner he will have to assert himself in Keane’s presence.
Keane is an interesting appointment. Ireland’s 2002 World Cup campaign was marred by Keane’s feud with the then manager Mick McCarthy and he has been openly critical of the national side since then.
Even Ireland fans found themselves on the receiving end of Keane’s vitriol in Euro 2012 after his bizarre tirade against them singing during Ireland’s poor performances.
O’Neill’s reserved public demeanour is not always necessarily matched in the dressing room, but should Keane steal much of the attention away from the Derry-born gaffer, it will not only be O’Neill’s prominence that is under threat, but also much of his authority.
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