Martin O'Neill says Roy Keane is ready for Harry Arter 'reconciliation' after row
Full transcript below of a leaked audio clip purported to be Stephen Ward describing series of heated rows in Republic of Ireland camp
Last Updated: 11/09/18 2:40pm
Martin O'Neill says his Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane is ready to have a "reconciliation" with Harry Arter in the aftermath of their row.
O'Neill denied a problem exists within some members of the squad after an audio clip purporting to be Ireland's Stephen Ward surfaced online discussing details of a foul-mouthed altercation involving Keane, Arter and Jon Walters.
Arter is absent from the Ireland squad to face Poland in a friendly in Wroclaw on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports Mix from 7.40pm, after O'Neill admitted last week it was in part due to the falling out in May.
"I think there might be a bit of a reconciliation between Roy and Harry. Certainly Roy is up for that," O'Neill said.
Ward, who withdrew from the Ireland squad through injury, was not present when the incident took place but his WhatsApp version of events also suggests Walters and Keane had a face-to-face confrontation.
O'Neill has already said Ward's version of events does not tally with Keane's, but dismissed suggestions it could end the Burnley defender's international career.
But when asked whether he had sympathy for Ward, O'Neill said: "Today... probably not. Tomorrow... probably not also."
He has been betrayed by some of his friends, who he has known for a long, long time. That will be a disappointment for him.
Martin O'Neill on Stephen Ward
"He has been betrayed by some of his friends, who he has known for a long, long time. That will be a disappointment for him."
Full transcript of Stephen Ward's alleged WhatsApp message
"So basically lads, Roy was getting on the boys for not training like three days in a row. Johnny's got a bad knee so he can't train all the time.
"They were at the training ground and him and Harry were just sitting on the bench, just relaxing and icing themselves and stuff. Roy walked over and was like, 'Why aren't you lads training?' and he obviously blatantly knew why they weren't training because the manager would have told him. And they were like, 'We can't do three days in a row'. 'What are you lot? Professional footballers? That's a f***ing shambles that is'. They both didn't say anything and Roy walked off and came back over again, 'So when are you going to train, I'm sick of people pulling out with injuries, what the f*** is wrong with ya?' and the lads were like, 'Listen, we've got problems, we do it at our clubs, we can't do it'. Roy said something under his breath about Johnny and walked off.
"Johnny lost his head, jumped off the bench and walked after him, grabbed his arm and said, "What's the story Roy? If you've got a problem say it to my face, don't f***ing walk off' and he was like, 'I do have a problem, you're not training, you're getting soft, it's no wonder Dyche doesn't play ya, you're f***ing always looking for an argument like you are now' and he was like, 'No Roy, you are the one trying to cause an argument', and apparently they were squaring off to each other and having it off and had to be pulled off each other. All the lads were grabbing Johnny away from him... Johnny was going to kill him.
"Roy brought up something about when they were at Ipswich, they had like a falling out as well. He said, 'You're threatening me again Jon, like you did at Ipswich', and Johnny was like, 'Yeah what, are you going to be a s***house again and send me my fine in the post rather than saying it to my face?'
"It blew over for a few days and then they flew out to France and apparently Johnny just text Roy was like, 'Listen Roy, I'm in room whatever, if you wanna come up, you've obviously got something on your mind that p***** you off about me because it's causing tension in the squad, let's talk it out'. Apparently Roy just wrote back, 'Nah, I'm just here to help players. People like you... stay out of each other's way. You don't need to reply to this message', and that was that.
"They got back from France and Harry felt his quad in training again. So he wasn't training. Apparently he was getting treatment in the treatment room and Roy walked in and was like, 'When are you going to train you f***ing p****?' and Harry was like, 'What?', and he was like, 'F***ing any chance of you training?' He explained the situation again and Roy was going off going, 'You're a f***ing p****, you're a ****, you don't even care, you don't wanna train', and Harry was just going, 'Roy, I'm not speaking to you like this. I'm not listening to you. You're not the manager. You can't say anything to me'.
"Apparently Roy was just going mad getting f***ing worse and worse and Harry got up off the treatment bed and walked back to his room. As he was walking back to his room Roy was shouting down the corridor, 'You're a f***ing p****, you're a **** you've been all your life' and that was it really lads.
"It didn't come to blows but basically just Roy was losing his head."
Back in 2005, Keane left Manchester United following a damning assessment of the Old Trafford squad in an interview with the club's own television channel. The 47-year-old's passion is crucial going forward, insists O'Neill.
He said: "You were talking about Roy Keane there - this was after Roy Keane had coerced that top-quality team to win seven championships or something like that, in a 10-year period.
"Roy Keane was the driving force of that team. He had great, great players, the Welsh manager [Ryan Giggs] beside him, David Beckham, an iconic figure in the game, a world-class goalkeeper [Peter Schmeichel] and top-class players who could have played anywhere in the world.
"He drove them on, and they have all admitted that. He was looking for exacting standards and that's exactly what I want, exacting standards whatever way they are mentioned to people.
"If people are not up to them, not necessarily in terms of ability all the time, then I do think the players or other people have to have a look at them.
"That's not to say that every utterance that myself or Roy Keane makes is absolutely and utterly correct."
Watch Poland v Republic of Ireland live on Sky Sports Mix from 7.40pm on Tuesday.