O'Neill plays down Keane's Ireland row after leak of Ward's WhatsApp recording

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O'Neill plays down Keane's Ireland row after leak of Ward's WhatsApp recording

Republic of Ireland O’Neill plays down Keane’s Ireland row after leak of Ward’s WhatsApp recording • Details of row between assistant and two players leaked
• ‘Stephen wasn’t there, he’s just picking up on things’

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has sought to downplay a row between his assistant Roy Keane (left) and two players, details of which emerged in a leaked WhatsApp message. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has attemp ted to draw a line under a row between his assistant, Roy Keane, and players Jonathan Walters and Harry Arter.

O’Neill was speaking at his pre-match press conference in Poland after a WhatsApp recording of the defender Stephen Ward was leaked in which he outlined his understanding of what had happened between the three men during the summer and which was followed by Arter making himself unavailable this month.

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O’Neill said: “First of all, Stephen wasn’t there, he’s just picking up on things, something that we talked about at the beginning of the week. Probably not anything more to really report.

“I think differences of what was said … a confrontation with Jon and a confrontation with Harry. Jon is fine, absolutely fine. Harry perhaps not so fine. But I said to you before, you’d have to ask if that is the complete reason why Harry is not participating in these games t his time.

“But I think you probably know that anyway because Harry has let it be known to a few people anyway, the reasons he has decided not to come.”

Asked if Ward’s version tallied with the one he had been given by Keane, O’Neill replied: “No.”

The manager, sitting alongside midfielder David Meyler, was equally emphatic when asked if Keane’s behaviour was causing a problem with some players.

He said: “I’d have to say absolutely not. First of all â€" these things are important to say â€" first of all the incidents took place at the end of May when we were in camp. We are now here four months later.

“It wouldn’t be the first conversation, the first tête-à-tête, certainly it wouldn’t be the first, if I can call it, altercation between players and staff. I’ve had one with the man sitting beside me here two days ago.”

O’Neill added: “If you’re asking about Roy’s criticism of players, let me tell you this is my responsibility, totally my responsibility, absolutely and utterly. Every single kick players make, every save that is made, every corner that is conceded, every goal that is scored is my responsibility, so I’ll take full responsibility for what has happened in this camp.

“At the end of it all I’m actually the manager. In my time as a manager, I’ve chosen two brilliant, brilliant assistant managers, two characters, two world-class players: John Robertson and the young man himself, Roy Keane. They’re different, but at the end of it all, none of them have ever let me down. John Robertson criticised players; Roy has a different way. I take the responsibility for it at the end of the day because that’s my job.”

Topics
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Martin O'Neill
  • Roy Keane
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Source: Google News Ireland | Netizen 24 Ireland

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