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If you want Roy Keane to stay at Villa, root for Ireland

Roy Keane has said that if the Republic of Ireland does not stay in good form, he would leave Aston Villa to focus on his international duties.

Ian Walton

I don't think that I'm alone in liking what Roy Keane has done at Aston Villa. Far from being the nightmare that many of us feared, he seems to have rallied the players around him, put a bit of verve back into the club, and given Aston Villa a sort of joyful identity in the national press. That's not a bad couple of months worth of work, there. But if you, like me, are happy with Roy Keane at Aston Villa, it's time for you to add another team to your international rooting interests: Ireland.

Keane, of course, is splitting duties as the number two man at both Ireland (under Martin O'Neill) and at Villa. According to a story in the Birmingham Mail, Keane values more highly his work with Ireland:

"I feel that if I am taking my eye off the ball with Ireland, then I will leave Aston Villa. There is no doubt about that. I have told Paul Lambert that, told Martin that and told the FAI that. But at the moment, it is OK. If we lose three or four on the spin [with Ireland], then I will leave Villa."

Well then. I don't necessarily begrudge Keane this attitude (though I wonder where the reciprocity is. What if Villa lose three or four?) I don't love hearing it. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I don't want to see a Keane-less Villa this year. I like what he's done for the club.

The good news is that Ireland are doing quite well, and there's no danger of Keane leaving any time soon. They're 2-0 in a Group D that is pretty top heavy. They've already beaten Gibraltar and Georgia, but they've still got to play Germany, Poland, and Scotland before they do it all again. The tilt against Germany comes tomorrow. Sorry Deutschland, I want you to lose a stunner now.