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Martin O'Neill surprised that no club took a chance on Roy Keane

Martin O'Neill has admitted he is surprised no club has taken the chance to hand Roy Keane a return to management.

The new Republic of Ireland manager appointed the 42-year-old as his assistant last week with Keane having been out of the game since losing his job at Ipswich in January 2011.

I am. I know that he feels things didn't go very well at Ipswich for him.

I think sometimes it's forgotten as well that in his first season, he actually got Sunderland promoted and did very well. Some of those things get lost in time and people want to forget that.

But I think I was surprised that he hadn't had another opportunity, that somebody wouldn't have taken a chance with him.

But who knows what might happen here? He's here, he is focussed on it. He wants to do it and I think you will find tomorrow that he is especially ready for it.

– Martin O'Neill.

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First day on the job for O'Neill and Keane

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane take their first Republic of Ireland training session. Credit: PA
There was even time for a joke. Credit: PA
'So I said to Mick …' Credit: PA

Martin O'Neill privileged to take on Republic of Ireland job

Martin O'Neill could not turn down the opportunity to manage the Republic of Ireland.

The 61-year-old Northern Irishman and number two Roy Keane each signed initial two-year deals on Tuesday as the FAI's search for a replacement for Giovanni Trapattoni drew to a close.

It's a privilege to do it. You know, a job like this may not come round again for quite some considerable time.

The Republic of Ireland have had some success - Jack Charlton was great, Mick McCarthy excellent, and Trapattoni did very, very well indeed, and all stayed in the job for quite a number of years.

I am sure that the players will be very positive. I think, generally speaking, they want to play for their country anyway, regardless of who is the manager.

There will be some expectation too, but I think we can live with that.

– Martin O'Neill.

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Michael O'Neill on namesake Martin and eligibility: It doesn't matter who's in charge of the Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill does not expect the appointment of Martin O'Neill as Republic of Ireland boss to impact on player eligibility – a touchstone of O'Neill's tenure at Windsor Avenue has been his attempt to stem the flow of Northern Irish-born talent to the Republic.

It doesn't really matter who is in charge of the Republic in terms of the eligibility question.

My focus, pure and simple, is to make sure that our young players know what we are trying to do as an association and what we are trying to build with our younger players in terms of giving them the chance of having an international career.

I know most of our young age-group footballers by name and have worked on the training pitch with them and hopefully that is a help.

"I've spoken to Martin on a few occasions and he was very helpful to me before I took this job and since.

– Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill on namesake Martin.
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