New Republic of Ireland boss must bring back pride, says Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane has called for the Republic of Ireland to appoint a no-nonsense manager to help revive the nation's fortunes.
The Republic will complete their World Cup qualifying campaign against Kazakhstan in Dublin tonight knowing they have no chance of making it to Brazil next summer and with interim boss Noel King at the helm following the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni last month.
They will return to competitive action next September as they embark upon their bid to reach the finals of Euro 2016 with a new manager in place, with the Football Association of Ireland currently scouring the field for a replacement for the 74-year-old Italian.
Martin O'Neill, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane figure prominently on the list of potential candidates, but Keane has very definite ideas about the qualities required to make a success of the job.
The 33-year-old Republic captain said: "I want someone who is an honest manager who doesn't mess around, understands how important it is to be involved in international level, someone who is very, very proud to be a manager and be proud of what we are trying to achieve in Ireland."
The LA Galaxy frontman, who is in line to win his 130th senior cap against the Kazakhs, played under McCarthy and alongside Keane for his country and knows their merits well.
He is also aware of what O'Neill would bring to the party, and would have no qualms over any of the trio if they were appointed.
Keane said: "The names I have heard being mentioned, if any of them took over, I think everybody would be fairly happy.
"I think it's important whoever takes over it's a fresh start for everybody, the whole country gets behind them and we wish them well whoever that may be."
The FAI, aided by the financial backing of businessman Denis O'Brien, invested heavily in a coach of international renown when they appointed Trapattoni, although his withering assessment of the country's domestic football and his refusal to adopt a more expansive game did not go down well with his critics.
Asked if the next manager should be Irish, Keane said: "As long as it's the right man, it doesn't matter, but I think everybody at this stage now probably would want an Irish manager.
"I think it's probably clear and obvious to see that. It's looking likely that it probably will be, it seems that way, anyway."
McCarthy, of course, guided Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and Korea, where his bust-up with the elder Keane in Saipan resulted in the then captain heading home.
However, the man who currently wears the armband insists he would have no problem with McCarthy's return.
Keane said: "Mick is a great guy, a fantastic guy. Everything we have referenced, he comes into that mould. If it was Mick, if it was Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane, I don't think you could go wrong with any of them, to be honest with you."
High performance director Ruud Dokter and former international Ray Houghton have been charged with the task of finding the right man, and have already spoken to a series of prospective candidates.
But Keane has indicated that the current crop of players too would be only to happy to have some input if they were asked.
He said: "You are not going to get anywhere in life if you don't ask people their opinion and ask whatever you want to call them, experts or people who played.
"There's no harm in asking people and asking their opinion on things because you are only going to learn things and open your eyes to certain different things.
"If anybody wants to ask any of the lads questions, I am sure they will be very open to listening to what people have to say and certainly give their opinion on what they feel."
Whoever Trapattoni's replacement proves to be, Keane will be available for selection with few thoughts of bringing his playing days to a close yet.
The Dubliner, who has a national record 60 international goals to his name, said: "I will continue to play as long as I feel healthy."