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No room for Robbie Keane on Stephen Kenny's Republic of Ireland backroom team

 

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Backroom changes: new Republic boss Stephen Kenny

Backroom changes: new Republic boss Stephen Kenny

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Backroom changes: new Republic boss Stephen Kenny

The FAI and Robbie Keane are set for tense talks on a severance package after he was left out off a new-look management team named by new senior team boss Stephen Kenny.

And Kenny's employers have said they are planning for him to have at least six senior games under his belt as manager, in the Nations League and possibly a friendly, before he takes on Slovakia in the Euro 2020 playoff, a tie now likely to be played in November.

Kenny has been installed as the new senior team boss, four months ahead of schedule, and he's confirmed that Keith Andrews and Damien Duff will join Alan Kelly on his coaching staff with Jim Crawford replacing Kenny as manager of the U21 team and John O'Shea in as his assistant.

But there was no mention at all of Keane, who was senior team coach under McCarthy, in 416-word statement issued by the FAI confirming the management changes, as Keane has been replaced by former team-mate Duff.

Keane has two years left on an FAI contract reportedly worth €250,000 a year and it's seen as highly unlikely that he would work on the same management team as Kenny.

A suggested role in the FAI’s High Performance Department is complicated by the fact that Keane is assistant manager at Middlesbrough and unable to commit to a full-time role in Dublin.

Keane has not commented on the matter but his wife was vocal on his exclusion from the new set-up on social media, suggesting a lack of respect from the FAI. Sources close to Keane have also noted the limited public involvement of his former team-mate Niall Quinn in the transition from McCarthy to Kenny which has seen him left out.

Gary Owens, interim CEO of the FAI, said last night that he had an “open mind” on a role for Keane.

“We are very open to sitting down with Robbie and his agent to talk about what role he may or may not play in the Association,” Owens said.

McCarthy has, meanwhile, taken his earlier-than-planned departure in his stride.

McCarthy returned for a second spell in charge in December 2018, with the aim of managing the Irish at Euro 2020 and then allowing Kenny to take over.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the play-offs for that tournament postponed to an unconfirmed date, with Kenny given the chance to start work now.

“I took the job on December 18 and I remember all the questions then, ‘What if it goes longer?’ but I said ‘July 31, 2020’ and that’s when I should be leaving, but I have no games now and the sensible thing is to let Stephen take over and plan,” McCarthy said.

“He has time to talk to the players and plan, rather than me stay on a dead man walking which is ridiculous.

“My job ends July 31, I accepted that at the very start. Yes I am bitterly disappointed I don’t get the chance to take us to the Euros but I am also pragmatic about it.”

Belfast Telegraph