‘Imagine if he’d won a trophy’ – Keane reignites feud with Walters

Joe Williams
Roy Keane Jonathan Walters Republic of Ireland

Controversial former Republic No 2 Roy Keane has re-opened his war of words with the country’s former striker Jonathan Walters.

The former Ireland skipper, who served for five years as Martin O’Neill’s assistant manager with the national team, famously crossed swords with Walters and Harry Arter over their managed training regimes in a spat which was later detailed by defender Stephen Ward in a leaked WhatsApp audio message.

Speaking at an Off The Ball roadshow at the Bord Gais Theatre in Dublin on the eve of the Republic’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland, Keane referred to an emotional television appearance made by Walters in which he spoke about the death of his mother when he was 11 years old.

Keane said: “He talks a good game. Imagine if he’d won a trophy. He goes on the TV about how he was harshly treated by me. He’s crying on the TV about his family situation.

“Maybe he should lie low for a while. Have a look at his medals? That wouldn’t take long.”

Keane also took aim at Sir Alex Ferguson and clearly hasn’t forgiven the former United boss over the former’s acrimonious exit from Old Trafford in 2005.

Walters’ goals proved pivotal in Ireland’s qualification for the Euro 2016 finals, but Keane was dismissive about his contribution, turning his attention to another old foe Jason McAteer, who fired 10-man Ireland to World Cup qualifier victory over Holland in 2001, in the process.

He said: “How many years ago is that? How long is he going to live off that? A certain player scored against Holland and he still is.”

Keane and O’Neill parted company with Ireland in November last year, days after a 0-0 Nations League draw in Denmark brought an end to a run of nine games in the calendar year which yielded just one win.

Keane admitted he sensed the writing was on the wall when businessman Denis O’Brien ended his agreement to pay a significant proportion of the management team’s wages, and defended their record.

He said: “With the Irish job, I loved every minute of it. People still say to me, ‘Sorry it didn’t work out with Ireland’. I say ,’It did’.

“We had two proper campaigns. We qualified and got to a play-off. If every Irish manager did that, Irish football would be in a decent place.

“I think Martin was harshly treated, but we’ll survive. We are big boys. Life goes on.”