| 9.7°C Dublin

Keano's TV rant Roy Keane slams 'lack of quality' in Ireland set-up

Former Ireland captain damning in his criticism of the current squad

Close

11 October 2020; Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during the UEFA Nations League B match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

11 October 2020; Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during the UEFA Nations League B match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

11 October 2020; Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during the UEFA Nations League B match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Roy Keane believes Ireland manager Stephen Kenny faces an uphill battle to change the way the team play after stating there is a 'real lack of quality' in the squad he is working with.

Keane has rarely commented on Ireland's fortunes since he lost his position alongside Martin O'Neill in the Ireland management set-up in November 2018, but he offered up a damning judgement on the pool of players working under Kenny in an appearance on ITV.

"You look at the Ireland squad at the moment and the players coming through there is a real lack of quality," stated Keane ."It's tough going. When you don't have a goal scorer, you're constantly under pressure as a team and as a manager.

"The last week has been tough with the poor result the other night (in Slovakia), players pulling out with coronavirus and without someone to put the ball in the net, you are always struggling.

"Only for Robbie Keane over the last 10, 15, 20 years there has not been a regular goal scorer so you are constantly under pressure. It's a major problem for Ireland."

Ireland have scored just one goal and failed to win any of Kenny's first four games in charge and Keane's ITV punditry sidekick Ian Wright backed up his sentiments, as he argued Kenny's efforts to re-brand the Ireland side and play a more expansive brand of passing football will be undermined by a lack of goal power.

"This manager's remit is to play a different style of football with the players coming through," said the former Arsenal striker. "Even if you are playing a different brand of football, you have to put the ball in the net. It doesn't matter how you play if you don't put the ball in the net."

Shane Long missed a big chance for Ireland in Sunday's 0-0 draw against Wales at the Aviva Stadium and Keane admitted his failure to get his effort on target was not a surprise as it was an issue he tried and failed to solve during his time working with the Ireland squad.

"Shane will be lacking confidence at the moment," he added. "He's not a natural finisher, doesn't score enough goals and he missed another big chance (against Wales).

"Daryl Horgan also missed a big chance and I was constantly saying to players on the training pitch, you've got to hit the target to give yourself a chance."

Keane also ripped into Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford for his performance in England's 2-1 win against Belgium at Wembley.

Close

England's Mason Mount celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Nations League game against Belgium PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 11, 2020.

England's Mason Mount celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Nations League game against Belgium PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 11, 2020.

PA

England's Mason Mount celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Nations League game against Belgium PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 11, 2020.

Rashford scored from the penalty spot as England came from behind to beat the team ranked No.1 in the FIFA rankings at Wembley, but former United captain Keane was not impressed with Rashford's efforts.

"Rashford in the first-half was going through the motions," he said. "His body language in the first half, he needs to do better.

"And then he started doing what he should be doing, running at people, getting forward, doing things quickly. Gareth Southgate should have said something at half-time, cut out this nonsense, kind of standing on the ball.

"Pass it and run, pass it and move. Simplify the game. Remember what got you into this England team and that’s running at people. That’s your strength."

Online Editors