Football Expert & Columnist
Niall Quinn says Ireland assistant role is perfect for Roy Keane
Niall Quinn thinks assisting Martin O'Neill will help Roy Keane forge a successful managerial career.
Last Updated: 19/11/13 10:56am
Keane was appointed as Martin O'Neill's number two by the Football Association of Ireland earlier this month and the duo oversaw a 3-0 friendly win over Latvia on Friday evening in Dublin.
Keane has had a chequered history with his country - he was sent home from the 2002 World Cup following tension with then boss Mick McCarthy - while murmurs of player unrest have surrounded his stints in club management with Sunderland and Ipswich.
But Sky Sports pundit Quinn - who hired Keane as Stadium of Light chief in 2006 - reckons the Manchester United legend will reap the rewards of linking up with O'Neill and feels the relationship will help the 42-year-old branch out on his own.
"I think this jobs suits Roy," said Quinn.
"One of the complaints about him was that he found it difficult to put up with players who couldn't do the things that he thought came naturally and didn't put his arm around players when things weren't going well.
"That is what some of the Sunderland players said to me, but he is learning under a great man now about every type of player - the ones who are top class, the ones who make mistakes - and this could be a big springboard to him having a lovely career as a manager."
Goals from Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady and Shane Long polished off Latvia in Ireland's first fixture under the new regime, but Quinn was impressed by the display of Wigan winger James McClean, who was a key player under O'Neill when the Ulsterman bossed Sunderland.
"McClean now has the man who believes in him back as his manager and he played in a way that said he was absolutely grateful to Martin and was determined not to let him down," said the former striker, who netted 21 goals in 92 appearances for Ireland.
"He came back and helped out, was involved up top and put in a really good performance - but McGeady needed his goal and he is the sort of player that be a real threat if his confidence is up.
"However, all of the Ireland team will feel good about this result, as well as winning the ball back and exciting the crowd.
"And a lot of the players will go away thinking: 'This is the way to play now and suits me better than the way we were playing under Giovanni Trapattoni'."
Ex-Ireland player and manager Steve Staunton added: "Ireland pressed high up the park from the off - not just one or two lads, but three, four or five - and they scored a couple of goals off the back of it.
"They will have to know when to press and when not to against better teams but it looked like Martin and Roy's point of view came across and every time an Ireland player got the ball he was positive and attacked players.
"It looks like Ireland are going to play with a No. 10 - whether that's Wes Hoolahan, Andy Reid or whoever - and play through the middle of the park and with pace down the flanks and at full-back, those are good signs."