World Cup news

Lennon surprised by O'Neill-Keane links

November 4, 2013
By Kevin Palmer

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted he is surprised by the prospect of former Parkhead heroes Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane forming a high profile Republic of Ireland coaching double act in the coming days, but he has backed the duo to succeed in their task.

Martin O'Neill watches on from the dugout as Sunderland host Manchester United
PA PhotosO'Neill is tipped to coach Ireland with Roy Keane as his assistant.

Reports in Ireland on Sunday suggested that Keane had agreed a deal to become O'Neill’s assistant in the new Irish set-up, with Lennon backing the former Celtic duo to be a big hit for the national team.

"It is very interesting," stated Lennon. "I am surprised, yes. I didn't realise there was a connection between the two of them before now. They are two great characters, two great personalities. They have a vast knowledge of the game. They are two very proud guys. God help the players!

"Roy Keane has a great knowledge of the game and he was a magnificent player; one of the best of his generation. He has a presence that will lift a team and keep players on their toes and we all know what Martin is like. I think Ireland will be exciting to watch now."

O'Neill and Keane are set to be unveiled as the Ireland coaching team in the coming days, with a Football Association of Ireland board meeting set to ratify the appointment in the next 48 hours.

The imminent appointments have transformed what appeared to be a low profile friendly international against Latvia in Dublin on Nov. 15 into one of the hottest tickets in Ireland.

O'Neill and Keane will make a public appearance together on Tuesday night, with the duo set to work together as TV pundits for Manchester United's Champions League game against Real Sociedad.

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