Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill: I won't gag Roy Keane says Republic of Ireland's new boss

By Steven Beacom

New Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has revealed he will NOT gag Roy Keane and has given his controversial assistant licence to say exactly what he wants.

Whether Northern Ireland's 1982 World Cup skipper lives to regret that remains to be seen.

Keane is renowned for shooting from the lip and in the past has angered the FAI, Republic managers, players and supporters with his cutting comments.

Keane was due to talk to the media for the first time today since his shock appointment, but while O'Neill says he may issue guidelines to his players regarding what they talk about on social media, the former Manchester United star has been given all the freedom in the world by his boss.

"I am going to try and clear something up here," said O'Neill yesterday after the Republic's 'dream team' had taken their first training session.

"I am not Roy Keane's father, absolutely not. He can look after himself and he can say what he wants.

"Seriously, he is under no gagging at all, and I am quite sure that I would not even have to have that conversation with him.

"I am not going to sit there saying 'Don't say this, don't say that'."

In contrast though O'Neill (pictured) is concerned by the use of Twitter by his players.

He knows all too well of the dangers from his time as Sunderland boss when Londonderry-born James McClean managed to annoy Northern Ireland fans and previous Republic boss Giovanni Trapattoni with his remarks.

O'Neill, who will discuss the issue with his squad, said: "I used to think it was a bit of fun (Twitter). But it's become serious, it really has. I know from James' Twitter way back at Sunderland, I was saying, 'Hold on, stay out of it, just at the moment'."

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