Roy Keane labels Sunderland ‘brilliant’ as he talks of a return to club management

The good old days: Roy Keane with Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn (left)
The good old days: Roy Keane with Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn (left)
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Roy Keane’s days at Sunderland may have had an unhappy ending.

But the promotion-winning Black Cats boss has spoken of a “brilliant club like Sunderland” during a Republic of Ireland media conference.

When I stopped playing, I didn’t think I was going to go into management, but then a brilliant club like Sunderland came calling.

ROY KEANE

Keane mentioned the first club he managed when he was talking about the possibility of returning to the club scene, even though he has just signed a contract to stay with Ireland and continue working alongside another former Sunderland boss, Martin O’Neill.

The Irish management team have only recently put pen to paper on the new contracts they agreed back in June, though both insisted all along that there was nothing sinister in the delay.

Despite enjoying his current role, which he mixes with his work as a pundit for ITV, Roy said he remains open to a return to club management.

Speaking ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova he was coy when asked what kind of opportunity could persuade him.

He said: “It all depends, it depends on the club.

“When I stopped playing, I didn’t think I was going to go into management, but then a brilliant club like Sunderland came calling.

“It’s all ifs and ands. It depends who comes calling - Real Madrid, Barcelona, Altrincham, Barnet...

“It’s not in my mindset. I’m not one for networking, I don’t have an agent, I don’t apply for jobs and I never have.

“Maybe I never will do, but that might change in a few years - who knows?

“I’m committed to the job with Ireland and my mindset is to try get maximum points this week and win on Thursday night. Talking about other jobs is irrelevant.”

Keane led Sunderland to the Championship in his debut season at the Stadium of Light in 2006-07.

The Black Cats consolidated their place in the top flight under Keane but despite a 2-1 Tyne-Wear derby win over Newcastle the following season, results were mixed to say the least, and Keane stood down as manager in December 2008 with his side hovering near the drop zone and with talk of player unrest over his managerial style.