Keane backs O'Neill for Ireland

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Former Republic of Ireland international Roy Keane has sounded out his support for former Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill to take over as Ireland manager.

The FAI sacked former manager Giovanni Trappatoni after a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign, and O'Neill has been hotly tipped to take over the vacant position.

Roy Keane said that the former Celtic coach would be a perfect fit for Ireland:

"I know a little bit about Martin O'Neill and I think Martin would be a very, very good choice.

"I think the FAI have done the right thing in stepping back, taking their time and seeing what is out there.

"A lot of managers have been linked with it. A lot of good managers."

Keane himself has also been linked with the job after unsuccessful spells with Sunderland and Ipswich, but says he doesn't believe he is currently in the frame:

"I haven't been contacted by anyone.

"I have not thought about it too much to be honest with you. I have more important things to be worried about."

The Republic of Ireland have two further World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Germany in October, and a new boss is unlikely to be in place for these two games.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Mick McCarthy have also been linked to the Ireland job, although at 4/5, O'Neill is the odds-on favourite to take over the vacant position. Keane's comments would also suggest that the appointment is close.

A new coach is likely to be appointed with a view towards Euro 2016 qualification, with a managerial appointment looking to the future of Irish international football.

Ireland currently sit six points off a World Cup qualification position, behind second-placed Sweden. While it is still mathematically possible for Ireland to qualify, it would require an extraordinary sequence of results to go in the Republic's favour.

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