Alleged Harry Arter and Roy Keane bust-up sparks debate on 'hairdryer' impact

Arter is absent from the Ireland squad to face Poland on Tuesday night

Last Updated: 11/09/18 10:18am

Paul Merson tells The Debate Harry Arter's bust-up with Roy Keane will cost Ireland
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Paul Merson tells The Debate Harry Arter's bust-up with Roy Keane will cost Ireland

The Debate panel discussed whether the hairdryer treatment still works after an alleged bust-up between Roy Keane and Harry Arter in the Republic of Ireland camp.

Arter is absent from the Ireland squad to face Poland on Tuesday night, and manager Martin O'Neill acknowledged the Cardiff midfielder was not chosen following an altercation with Keane in the past.

Alleged details of that fall-out have leaked this week from an audio message said to have been recorded by Ireland defender Stephen Ward, which suggests harsh words were given out by Keane to the midfielder.

Speaking on The Debate, Paul Merson warned the culture of 'hairdryer treatment' had become less appropriate in the modern game, and added Ireland - humbled 4-1 by Wales on Friday night - could not afford to lose players of Arter's quality to personality clashes.

"There are 20 or 25 players in each squad. Some players like an arm round them, to be told they're the best player a manager's ever seen, it builds their confidence up," Merson said.

Arter is missing from the Republic of Ireland squad for Tuesday's Sky Live friendly in Poland

"Others want that kick up the backside, and to be told off, it picks them up. It's horses for courses, everyone's different.

"Obviously Harry Arter's not like that, he seems like a quiet lad. You've got to pick on the ones you know it will help, that's good coaching.

"Don't come on and have a go at a player who's not going to respond like that. It's a hard one, everyone's different. It's a shame, they can't afford to lose players like that."

Martin O'Neill has come out in defence of his assistant

Fellow Debate guest Alan Smith said he had been on the wrong end of a dressing down he considered too far from former manager George Graham when he was a player at Arsenal, and agreed the professional game had turned away from "rollickings" since that era.

He said: "We were brought up on them, it was a test of character, if you could come back from it after really getting slaughtered.

"It's not the same any more, and that's where players and coaches have had to evolve a little bit. Fergie did it brilliantly, he had the hairdryer and all that at that end of his managerial career, but as it evolved he learned you couldn't do that with some players.

"He knew you could still point the finger with some, but with others he was canny enough to see if he did that they wouldn't come back.

"The team spirit with Ireland has always been a big thing. They're not the most talented group of players compared with other countries, but it's that togetherness and working for each other, sticking together through the bad times that's done it.

"The other players will have looked at it and thought 'well, if he has a go at me like that...' They'll be thinking about what they'd do in return. If they lose that spirit, they've lost a lot in that dressing room."