Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane in an explosive interview with the Irish Times has had a pop at his manager, the FAI and some of his teammates as they prepare for the World Cup finals on the island of Saipan.
Following his decision to quit the team on Tuesday he spoke with Alex Ferguson who persuaded him to change his mind but his latest outburst could well see him being banished before Ireland take on Cameroon in their opening game on June 1st.
Confirming Ferguson’s role he said: “He was on holidays but he’d seen the news. I had a good chat with him. He’s someone I respect. In football, he’s the only person I would listen to.”
« Tuesday was a long night and a lot went through my head. I had to speak to people I respect. Obviously I had my family to think about but if it was up to me I wouldn’t still be here.
« I couldn’t have got a flight until four o’clock Wednesday. I spoke to my wife. I spoke to Michael Kennedy, my agent, I spoke to Alex Ferguson.
« He’s a good man and he gave me good words of advice. You have to listen to these people. Alex Ferguson has the same temperament as me. He understood what I was going through.
« He told me to stick it out, but this is it. I knew I had my family to think about back in Ireland. My poor Dad, me Mam. My three brothers and sisters. It would be all very well for me going back to Manchester. I knew all that.
« I was seeing straight, you know, but I just couldn’t justify myself being here. Not just this trip, there’s the constant, negative criticism over the years chipping away.
« I’m 31, I’ve had my few injuries. I travelled more than other players because of my commitments to United. That’s not a complaint, it’s just a fact and I just got to a stage where I said, I don’t need this.
« So I spoke to the manager and I’ll stick it out till after the World Cup and that will be it for me. Without a doubt.
« If there was a flight yesterday, I’d have been gone. »
« I told Mick I had enough, » the Corkman told McCarthy. « Basically that was it. We’ve had discussions already the other night about training facilities. You’ve got to prepare properly is my attitude…
« The training ground row was the tip of the iceberg. I’ve basically had enough of certain things. I’ve come over here to do well and I want people around me to want to do well.
« If I feel we’re not all wanting the same things, there’s no point. It’s been going on a while. It’s the whole fact of being away. Like every other footballer. Maybe I should just be OK with it, but enough is enough.
« I’m banging my head against a brick wall regarding certain issues about this trip. This trip is the tip of the iceberg. From the training facilities to all sorts.
« I’m not being a prima donna. Training pitch, travel arrangements, getting through the bloody airport when we were leaving, it’s the combination of things. I would never say that’s the reason or this is the reason’, but enough is enough. »
« The hotel is fine, but we’ve come here to work, » said Keane. « You wonder why players get injured? Well, playing on a surface like that. I can’t imagine any other country, countries in the world who are far worse off than us, playing on something like that.
« I don’t think it’s too much for us to ask, just for a pitch that’s even watered. It’s so dangerous. It’s rock hard. One or two of the lads have picked up injuries. I’m amazed there hasn’t been more but give it time.
« But you know, we’re the Irish team, it’s a laugh and a joke. We shouldn’t expect too much.
« All the players feel the same. They react differently. Some people accept it easier. Maybe that’s why some of our players are playing where they are.
« You have to want the best. You need to prepare. It’s hard enough as it is, playing Cameroon next Saturday it’s going to be so bloody hard. We could be in for a shock. Everybody could be in for a shock. »
He continued: « To me it’s gone now, what happened. I need to get my head down for two or three weeks. Get my head down for the country, enjoy it and leave with my head held high.
« I’ll get my head down for the next three weeks. I want to do well for the people of Ireland, for my family and for me personally.
« People think because I go away with the Irish team I’m moaning, because it’s not as good as Manchester United. That’s nonsense. I want to have a good training pitch. At Manchester United they want the best of everything. That’s the difference, they want it. Everybody.
« I accept a lot of things. I know the FAI haven’t got millions in the bank, but it’s cost a lot of money to come out here and look… It’s preparation.
“Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail. »