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03rd Jun 2016

Roy Keane on why he ‘wanted to kill’ some of the Ireland players on Tuesday night

"I wanted to kill some of them last night"

Ben Kiely

Roy Keane was not impressed with the display against Belarus, but has urged everyone not to overreact to the friendly defeat.

Ireland’s final 23-man squad for Euro 2016 was named following the 2-1 defeat to Belarus and Keane believes some of the player’s should be thankful they’re going to France after a disappointing team performance in Cork.

Keane joked that he “wanted to kill a few of them last night,” but that he’s “moved on from that,” speaking at Wednesday’s press conference.

“Considering some of their performances last night. They should be counting their blessing that they managed to get on the flight, but these things happen.”

The Euro 2016 squad announcement was met with some criticism from Irish fans, and Keane realises that some players will be disappointed after missing out on the plane to France. However, he feels that now the squad has been selected, the focus can now be shifted to the tournament.

“Obviously there’s always concern with the lads who were left out. Sometimes you’re more disappointed for them than the lads who have made it. That was part of the deal. No doubt that was difficult for the manager. He picked the squad, now he must refocus and get ready for the real business in the next week or two.”

“Poor from one or two of the players last night, but generally they’ve done well over the last couple of years, so you can’t be too critical.”

Three International Friendly, Turner's Cross, Cork 31/5/2016 Republic of Ireland vs Belarus Republic of Ireland's Darron Gibson after the match Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Darron Gibson was one of the few bright sparks in the Irish team in Turner’s Cross, but he will not be heading to France with the Boys In Green. Keane explained that his lack of match practice this season meant the Everton midfielder needed a sensational performance to convince Martin O’Neill of a seat on the plane.

“Well, he got that opportunity, but I don’t think whatever Gibbo done last night, unless he maybe got a hat-trick, might have changed the manager’s mind. The manager’s obviously been up front with Gibbo, he’s known over the last few months, he’s not played much football. That was obviously very difficult.”

Keane added that Gibson’s reluctance to go out on loan after he had fallen out of favour at Goodison Park also played against him.

“There was obviously one or two opportunities for Gibbo to go out on loan. It just didn’t happen for one reason or another, and really, we’ve got one or two players who’ve lacked first team action anyway and a few players who are carrying a few knocks. That probably played in the manager’s mind a little bit. It was always going to make it difficult for Gibbo to make the final 23 because of his lack of first team action.”

Three International Friendly, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 7/6/2015 Republic of Ireland vs England Ireland's Aiden McGeady Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

One of the players Keane may think could be counting his blessing is Aiden McGeady. Unlike Gibson, McGeady went out on loan after failing to get a look-in at Everton. He has struggled to break into Sheffield Wednesday’s starting XI too, but Keane feels he deserves credit for making the move.

“You could say the same about Aiden McGeady. Over the last few months he has had a taste of football with Sheffield Wednesday. I know he’s not played the last number of weeks, but he did take that decision to leave Everton to go get some action. Whereas a lot of people sit around and think, ‘This is not the right move for me’. You have to give Aiden a little bit of credit for that.”

As for his performance against Belarus, Keane feels we didn’t see the best of the midfielder at Turner’s Cross.

“Would Aiden find himself lucky to be on the flight? I don’t know. I think he’d need to play a little bit better than he did last night to force his way into the starting XI… If you’re asking about what I think about Aiden’s performance last night, I think he can do a lot better, but maybe that’s the story of Aiden’s career.”