Roy Keane has played down speculation he could return to Manchester United as Louis van Gaal’s number two.
The 61-year-old Dutchman is the bookmakers’ odds-on favourite to succeed the departed David Moyes at Old Trafford, and former United skipper Keane has been linked with a key role on his staff.
However, the 42-year-old, who is currently working as assistant to Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, has moved to dampen the rumours. Speaking to Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy show in Cork on Monday morning, Keane said: “People keep asking me, ironically, about other jobs. I have got a job and I am very happy in my job.”
Former Sunderland and Ipswich manager Keane was handed a return to coaching when O’Neill replaced Giovanni Trapattoni at the Republic helm in November last year. His appointment was greeted with almost as much excitement as that of the Ulsterman in a country where he remains a divisive figure.
Within weeks, he found himself thrust into the headlines as former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography painted a less than flattering picture of their relationship and prompted a dismissive response from his one-time inspirational captain. Asked if he could foresee a time when the two might be on speaking times once again, Keane replied: “No, I am not sure. Probably not. But look, I have said that about other people. Football is a funny old game and you get clashes of personality sometimes, but it’s something that’s not on my mind at the moment, to be honest with you, whether it be good or bad.”
Keane admitted he harbours hopes of a return to management one day, although he insisted that is not currently his main focus.
He said: “In my quiet moments, I obviously want to go back into being a manager myself.”
Asked if his dream was for that to be at Old Trafford, he said: “No, I don’t think that way. I was at a match on Friday night, I was at a match on Saturday and I am up in the stand thinking, ‘I would love to have a team’. And then I’ll get back in my car and I spoke to Martin, I think it was on Saturday night, and then I am thinking obviously I am delighted to be working with Martin and [goalkeeping coach] Seamus [McDonagh] and the other staff, so you have to be careful what you wish for.
“I am just really appreciating the opportunity I have at the moment. What happens further down the road…”
Keane was critical of United’s decision to dispense with Moyes’ services after just ten months, but steadfastly refused to be drawn into the debate over who should replace him, or what Ferguson’s role at the club should be. He said: “Part of me has to step back as well. I know there are certain times when the media are going to ask me these questions, but there’s also a part of me thinking whatever has gone on at certain clubs, it really is none of my business. There are certain things that will hurt me, particularly as I have been a manager before, so I will look at David Moyes and say I don’t like what happened to him. But regarding other issues at whether it be Man United or Arsenal or other football clubs, it’s none of my business and it doesn’t keep me awake at night.”
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand wants to be part of United’s plans next year regardless of who is in charge.
Ferdinand is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been tipped to leave the club. The 35-year-old has only started ten Barclays Premier League games this season, but he wants to remain at Old Trafford to be part of the rebuilding process that began with Moyes’ dismissal.
“I’m going to continue playing,” said Ferdinand, who moved to Old Trafford from Leeds 12 years ago. “Whether it’s here, I don’t know. But I hope so.”
Ferdinand has looked an assured presence when called upon at times this year, but his age and recent injury record count against him. Never during Ferdinand’s time at United had he experienced a season as bad as this one.
“I’ve not looked at the league table for ages because you don’t want to,” the centre-back said. “It’s embarrassing.”
BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon
THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.
The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.
• Email your Scottish football question for the BT Sport panel to answer. The next show will be recorded on May 7 after St Johnstone v Celtic with the video available on The Scotsman website the following day. You can also tweet us @TheScotsman.
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Over this season, BT Sport will air 30 SPFL matches plus 10 Rangers games from the SPFL League One.
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