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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 10:18 GMT
Kerr faces future without Keane
Brian Kerr oversees an Ireland training session ahead of Wednesday's game
Kerr was at training when news of Keane came through
Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr has expressed his disappointment at Roy Keane's decision to retire from international football.

The announcement came just 24 hours before Kerr's first match against Scotland on Wednesday.

Kerr met the midfielder last week in a bid to bring him back on board but Keane's decision, taken after consultation with Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, took him by surprise.

Keane's legal adviser Michael Kennedy released a statement on the matter on Tuesday, while Kerr was overseeing a squad training session.

The timing of the revelation left Kerr angry but determined to remain focused on Wednesday's match.

"I had agreed with Sir Alex that there would be no statement on the issue until after Wednesday's game was over," said Kerr.

"I need to move on with the players who want to play for Ireland for the future, and that is what I intend doing."

Following Keane's announcement, Kerr revealed that he had been hopeful of persuading the 31-year-old to return to the international fold before the midfielder had a late change of mind.

"I had a meeting with Roy Keane last Thursday for three hours - and the meeting went very, very well indeed," said the Republic manager.

This is not a football decision but a medical issue

Sir Alex Ferguson

"I left the meeting very happy, and Roy gave me an unequivocal commitment that he would be back to play in the team and would come to Scotland to start the process in relation to his return for the matches in Georgia and Albania.

"On Friday, I believe he met the medical people from Manchester United - and as a result of that meeting he called me to say that he was having to re-think his position.

"I was obviously disappointed and suggested he should spend some more time thinking about it."

"But Roy called me on Monday night to tell me that he had made a decision not to return to play for Ireland, that he had discussed it with his family and that he was disappointed to have to tell me that.

"I accepted his decision. I wish him the very best of luck in his career with Manchester United."

Ferguson took the unusual step of issuing a personal statement on United's official website explaining the decision.

"Roy is very disappointed with the decision he's had to make and is disappointed not to be playing under Brian Kerr.

"This is not a football decision but a medical issue.

"After much deliberation, Roy has acted on medical advice from Manchester United to end his international career."

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Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr
"I'm going to move on with the players I have"
Republic of Ireland coach Brian Kerr takes charge of the national team for the first time

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