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O'Neill hails 'inspirational' assistant Roy Keane

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane. Credit: PA

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has admitted he could not ask any more of assistant Roy Keane.

O'Neill catapulted the nation firmly into the headlines when he invited the former Ireland and Manchester United captain, who 11 years earlier had left the World Cup squad in the Far East after a spectacular fall-out with then boss Mick McCarthy, to be his number two back in November 2013.

Four years on, the pair are battling to guide their team to the finals of a second successive major tournament, and the manager believes his decision has been fully justified.

He said: "Roy has been everything I expected of him when I chose him as the assistant manager. I didn't pretend to know him that well - we had worked together on some programmes before that.

"But he is everything that I expected of him and more besides, an inspirational figure on the field, as he was, a hero to a lot of players who are in the squad at this moment and a big figure, not just for Irish football, but for world football.

"All of those things, he has continued to bring and I couldn't ask any more of him."

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