World Cup 2002 news
 17/12/04 02:45 EST
     William Hill

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Irish better off without Keane

In a stunning rejection of their former captain, the Irish squad has issued a statement saying that they believe the squad is healthier without Roy Keane.

Keane was sent home a few days ago after a blazing row with manager Mick McCarthy, when personal abuse left McCarthy with no option but to expel Keane from his squad.

Roy Keane appeared in an interview on Irish television apologising to the nation for his actions, and some commentators believed that he was paving the way for a return to the tournament.

However, his rejection by the rest of the squad shows how they have tightened as a group after the outburst that stunned the world. The statement reads:

'The manner of Roy's behaviour prior to his departure from Saipan, and the comments attributed to him since, have left the staff and players in no doubt that the interests of the squad are best served without Roy's presence.'

'The players bear no malice towards Roy on a personal level and are looking forward to a successful World Cup campaign with the continued support of our loyal supporters, both home and abroad.'

Although McCarthy has not ruled out the possibility of Keane returning, the chance now seems very slim:

'The call has to come, doesn't it? He has not spoken to me or to anyone in the squad.'

'I've not switched my phone off - everyone knows where I am and people can get in touch with me.'

28th May 2002

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