I PREDICT exciting times ahead for the Republic of Ireland team at international level following last week’s appointment of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.
And while I’ve yet to make my mind up in relation to the team’s success on the pitch, I certainly believe that times will certainly change dramatically as the Trapattoni era is consigned to history.
That said, I really couldn’t imagine two better motivational characters working in the same dressing room and I believe it will be a case of high octane stuff all the way.
What players wouldn’t want to play for this particular pairing at international level?
Both have been winners on the field of play. They’ve both graced the managerial stage in the Premiership and that carries so much weight in the modern football world.
And naturally, this being Ireland, negative comments have already been published in the sporting media with quite a few having a go, not exclusively, but at Roy Keane in particular.
The Mick McCarthy controversy has returned as Roy left Saipan back in 2002 under a cloud of controversy, but maybe it’s time that people realised that Saipan was a long time ago and it’s now time to move on?
At the same time, other scribes are pointing to the fact that O’Neill had the ability to spend large sums on transfer fees as a club manager but that special luxury is not available in the international arena and they suggest the Co. Derry man may well be in for a shock or two as he prepares to take his first training session in Dubin today (Tuesday).
However, on thing is for sure, an intelligent individual such as Martin O’Neill will have weighed up every possible scenario which would affect both himself and Keane before he was willing to accept the top job in Irish football.
And O’Neill will be the first to realise that the Irish squad does not boast the talent it had in years gone by, but I’ve no doubt that the new pairing will bring experience among other things to the table.
In fact, among the other things they will bring is self belief.
And it is also my view that players who hope to represent Ireland will be doing all in their power to boost their form as they attempt to get noticed by the new international partnership and that can only bode wel for the future of Irish football.
For me, the introduction of the O’Neill-Keane partnership is the “greates thing since sliced bread!”
The pair will meet the Irish playing staff today as they prepare to face Latvia in an international friendly this weekend in the Aviva Stadium.
The international media will be in Dublin to take note of the opening exchanges as O’Neill and Keane begin to map out a plan which will not only attract old and new playing staff, but their presence will, no doubt, fill those yawning gaps in the stands at the Aviva for forthcoming confronttions.
The FAI have, in my mind, made a superb appointment..