Keane slams players over Belarus performance

Cork (Ireland) (AFP) – Roy Keane said on Wednesday he felt like killing some of the Republic of Ireland players who played in Tuesday’s Euro 2016 warm-up defeat by Belarus.

However, the plain-speaking 44-year-old assistant coach — who infamously was sent home before the 2002 World Cup finals after a blazing row with then-coach Mick McCarthy — told Irish media he had calmed down a bit the morning after the 2-1 loss. 

“Well, I wanted to kill some of them last night,” he told a press conference after training on Wednesday.

“I’ve moved on from that.”

The former Manchester United great — who adds bite to the more cerebral head coach Martin O’Neill — said several of the players were fortunate to have made the 23-man squad after under-par performances.  

“They should be counting their blessings that they’ve managed to get on the flight,” said Keane.

“A reality check for one or two players who thought they were good players.

“Sometimes we make excuses for players — ‘they’ve not played much football’ — but they’re still training, you still control the ball, you have to run. You can still physically get into decent shape.

“You’re playing international football. Control the bloody ball. Pass it to your mates and if you lose it, run back and run back like you care.”

Keane, whose club managerial career thus far with Ipswich and Sunderland has failed to hit the heights his playing career did, was especially scathing about experienced winger Aiden McGeady. 

“He can do a lot better but maybe that’s the story of Aiden’s career,” said Keane of the 30-year-old Everton player, who has accrued over 80 caps since making his debut in 2004.

“Would Aiden find himself lucky to be on the flight? Well, he’ll need to play better than he did last night to force his way into the starting XI.”

The Irish — who had a terrible Euro 2012 finals campaign under Giovanni Trapattoni — face Sweden in their opening Euro 2016 match in Paris on June 13.

They face a battle to progress as their other two opponents are Italy and Belgium.

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