Martin O’Neill hails 'inspirational' Roy Keane after Republic of Ireland's run to World Cup play-offs

Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with Martin O’Neill above

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Martin O’Neill has hailed the job Roy Keane has done as his Republic of Ireland assistant.

The Manchester United legend was a surprise appointment as number two to O’Neill in 2014 but the duo have proved an excellent double act.

Ireland have reached the last 16 of Euro 2016 under their guidance and are 180 minutes away from a 2018 World Cup place, having booked their spot in the play-offs with an outstanding win over Wales on Monday night.

Speaking to Jim White on talkSPORT, O’Neill said of the part Keane has played: “Roy has been inspirational. He has been absolutely fantastic.

“He was one of the great players to have played in the Premier League and is one of Ireland’s best ever. He divides opinion, but he has been splendid.

“He has been a manager himself and that is obviously what he wants to do again, he has got that ambition to drive on and do that, but he has been absolutely fantastic.

“The players are behind Roy. These Irish players grew up with him as their hero.”

Ireland will discover on Tuesday who their World Cup play-off opponents will be.

As an unseeded team, they will face either Switzerland, Italy, Denmark or Croatia.

O’Neill admits Italy are the side everyone will want to avoid, but insists Ireland will also be feared.

“Italy are very, very strong,” he said. 

“Their World Cup record is just fantastic and they usually find a way to get there they. That would be difficult but are all going to be difficult .

“By the same token, I’m not sure the other teams will facing playing us as well.”

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