RICKY Sbragia famously told Roy Keane to butt out after the Irishman rained criticism on the Sunderland side he walked out on. But despite another angry outburst in Keane’s autobiography, which cast aspersions on Sbragia himself, the Scot says he is delighted to see his former colleague back in the game and heading to Celtic Park as the Republic of Ireland assistant.
“It’s fantastic Roy is back, he’s a bit of character and it’s fantastic he’s back. When I went to Sunderland he was fantastic, I have no complaints about him at all. He was hard working, very loyal and he knows the game, but it’s all about decisions.”
Taking interim charge of the Scotland U21 side after Billy Stark resigned this week, Sbragia, pictured, said it will benefit Keane to work alongside someone like Martin O’Neill.
“It will be good for him to learn from an experienced manager and I know when I was at Manchester United he came to reserve games and asked to come into the dressing room before games and at half- time. He was good and gave an input as well. There’s no doubt he’ll be wanting to win at Celtic Park. Martin will be the same as they have a similar connection.”
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But that magnanimous attitude is not necessarily reflected in Keane’s book, where he is scathing about the man he feels was party to plans to replace him at the Stadium of Light.
“I haven’t read his book as I don’t tend to read them. I don’t know how Roy has referenced me, no doubt he slaughtered me. The situation when Roy left was that I thought [assistant manager] Tony Loughlan would take it but Niall Quinn had asked me as I knew the players. It was only short term. But in my wildest dreams I’ve never wanted to be a manager.”
Which is why he does not want to trade his permanent post as coach to the Scotland U18s and U19s.
He does have views on who should be brought in replace former Performance Director Mark Wotte, though. “He probably should be Scottish,” said Sbragia. “He should be living in Scotland. He would understand the Scottish mentality and know what’s all about and how difficult it is in Scotland, especially financially, so I do think that.”
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