Roy Keane has ‘got the personality’ to become Celtic manager, claims Martin O’Neill, as he backs his ‘strong-willed’ former Republic of Ireland assistant’s ability to adapt and motivate players
- Roy Keane has been heavily linked with replacing Neil Lennon as Celtic manager
- Keane was Martin O’Neill’s assistant with Ireland and at Nottingham Forest
- And O’Neill believes Keane has learnt a lot since retiring from playing in 2006
- He also backed his former assistant to adapt to the demands of the Scottish side
Roy Keane has the ingredients necessary to become the new Celtic manager, according to Martin O’Neill.
Former Manchester United captain Keane, 49, has been heavily linked with replacing Neil Lennon at Celtic Park following his departure last month.
Keane was O’Neill’s assistant on two occasions, between 2013 and 2018 for the Republic of Ireland before the pair joined forces again as No 1 and No 2 at Nottingham Forest in 2019.
Roy Keane (right) is ready to become the new Celtic manager, according to Martin O’Neill (left)
Keane, 49, has been heavily linked with replacing departed boss Neil Lennon at Celtic Park
And speaking to BBC Sport, the 69-year-old Northern Irishman believes Keane has learned plenty since he retired from the game in 2006 after a 13-game spell at Celtic, and believes he could adapt to the demands he would face in Scotland.
‘He’s got the personality for a start,’ O’Neill told BBC Scotland Sportsound.
‘He was a massive player, an iconic figure in the game, one of the best midfield players in the modern day Premier League. He led and cajoled Manchester United on for almost a decade.
‘He’s very strong-willed, and I know people then start to feel strong-willed people do not necessarily change or adapt. He has certainly got the capacity to do that – to motivate players, absolutely.
O’Neill worked with Keane with Republic of Ireland and later Nottingham Forest (above)
‘I worked with him at close hand. Sometimes in this game you get a reputation and that supersedes anything that you’re trying to do. Roy Keane has learned a great deal in the intervening years.
‘He was my assistant at Ireland and I know that’s a totally different job, but has Roy Keane got the personality to manage at the very top? Absolutely.’
Keane’s experience as boss is limited to managing Sunderland and Ipswich – who he left in 2011 – while he also had another for-month coaching stint at Aston Villa in 2014 under Paul Lambert.
In his 2014 autobiography The Second Half, Keane claimed he was offered the Celtic job that year, but was ‘unimpressed’ by the offer made.
And O’Neill believes Keane has learnt a lot since retiring in 2006 following a spell with Celtic
‘Celtic wanted me but they weren’t showing how much they wanted me,’ he said, before adding the contract offer ‘failed to rock my boat’.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that former Borussia Dortmund manager has joined Keane in throwing his hat into the ring to succeed Lennon, with Eddie Howe and Thierry Henry also linked.
The 63-year-old Swiss coach was sacked by Dortmund in December after a run of poor domestic results.