Martin O’Neill has defended Roy Keane after the full transcript of his foul-mouthed rant at Jonathan Walters and Harry Arter was unveiled.
The behaviour of the Manchester United legend, who is assistant manager to Republic of Ireland, has certainly divided opinion after audio from defender Stephen Ward emerged describing the incident.
SunSport reported yesterday how Irish legends Liam Brady and John Giles called for Keano to be axed from the national set-up after his row with Arter led to the 28-year-old making himself unavailable for selection.
O’Neill’s No2 labelled Arter a “p****” and a “w*****” for sitting out a training session on the advice of FAI medical staff.
Walters, who started for the Boys in Green against Wales last week, also felt the wrath of the ex-Old Trafford captain during explosive clash in May’s international break.
Irish boss O’Neill is backing his No2, saying: “Stephen wasn’t there. He’s just picking up on things.
“[It is] something that we talked about at the beginning of the week – probably not anything more to really report.”
Walters has now returned to Ipswich Town and will be unavailable for tonight’s friendly in Poland.
But the confrontation still remains a hot topic going in to the game.
Now you can make your own mind about whether you think Keane should be punished or not by casting your vote below after reading Ward’s full transcript of how events unfolded below:
Ward’s leaked message to the Irish press said: “So basically lads, Roy was getting on to the lads for not training three days in a row. Jonny’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 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 guys? Professional footballers? That’s a 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 Jonny and walked off.
“Jonny 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****** 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****** always looking for an argument like you are now’ and he was like, ‘No Roy, you are the one trying to start 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 Jonny away from him … Johnny was going to kill him.
“Roy brought up something about when they were at Ipswich together, they had like a falling out as well. “You’re threatening me again Jon, like you did at Ipswich’, and Jonny was like: ‘Yeah, are you going to be a s******** again and send me my fine in the post rather than say it to my face?’
“It blew over for a few days and then they flew out to France and Jonny apparently just text Roy like, ‘Listen Roy, I’m in room whatever, if you wanna come up, you’ve obviously got something on your mind that p**ses you off about me because it’s causing tension in the squad, let’s talk it out.’
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“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****** p****?’ And Harry was like, ‘What?’ and he was like: ‘Any chance of you training?’
“He explained the situation again and Roy was going off going: ‘You’re a f****** p****, you’re a c***, 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 going mad getting worse and worse and Harry got up off the treatment bed and was walking back to his room. As he was walking back Roy was shouting down the corridor: ‘You’re a f****** p****, you’re a c*** you’ve been all your life’ and that was really it lads.
“It didn’t come to blows but basically just Roy losing his head.”
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