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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 20:34 GMT
Is Roy Keane right to retire?
Roy Keane has retired from international football
Roy Keane confirms that he has retired from international football and will never again play for the Republic of Ireland.

Is Keane right to pull down the curtain on his international career?


The Manchester United star said he consulted Alex Ferguson, his family and medical experts before making his decision.

Keane said in a statement that medical advice was a prime concern when he decided to hang up his green shirt.

Keane had previously hinted that he might return after his dramatic exit from the World Cup, when a new man was in charge of the Republic.

He met with Ireland's new boss Brian Kerr last week but seemingly could not be convinced to return.

Irish football fans are sure to be upset at his decision but will be quick to remember his fine contributions to the national side.

Is Roy Keane right to retire from international football?

This debate has now closed, see below for a selection of the best opinions - or start a new debate on the 606 site



This soap opera will soon give M.A.S.H. a run for its money! First Roy says he will never wear an Irish jersey as long as Mick McCarthy is the boss. Result is -goodbye Mick! Next he tells Brian Kerr he will be back to play. Result is- enter Sir Alec to 'advise' Roy that he should consider his health and career before making any such choice! Then Roy 'retires' from International football.

Roy is then ridiculed in the press and media for being duplicitous. Sir Alec is portrayed as a meddling influence. Ireland defeat Scotland 2-0 and seemingly close the door on the Roy Keane era, right?!! Wrong!! Now Roy hints/insinuates/teases etc (get my drift?) at a possible return to the national squad. This is a desperate attempt at damage control by both Roy Keane and Man. Utd. Does anyone out their really believe that Roy will ever pull on an Irish jersey again?
Brendan Delaney, USA/Ireland

I think it's time Keane hung his boots up, perhaps that will stop Fergie allegedly kicking them at his players.
Philip Allinson, UK

He should be banned from entering Ireland and have his passport removed

Michael McGuinness, Leitrim, Ireland

I'm disappointed that Roy has retired but grateful for everyone of his wonderful performances, he never gave less than 100% and dragged us to the world cup. Events in Saipan were unfortunate and although I don't believe Roy was blameless all he ever wanted was the best possible conditions for Ireland to progress in the world cup, the situation regarding his retirement could also have been handled better but I blame Man Utd's badly worded statement. Having sought medical advice it is quite possible that Roy will require a hip replacement in his forties, on this basis I respect his decision and thank him for giving his all for Ireland every time.
Ronan, Ireland

Yes, in Saipan not only did he let his country down, he let him self down. he has none of those virtues called dignity self respect, and it now seems honesty, he should look at Beckham and see that's how you captain a country
john, Ireland

Shameful exit of a spoilt-brat!
Opeyemi Ajala, Nigeria

Any man that let's his Country down is a disgrace. He should be banned from entering Ireland and his passport removed. Shame on him and his family. Alex Ferguson should mind his own business when it comes to a player's International career.
Michael McGuinness, Leitrim, Ireland

Ireland have qualified for major championship finals before Roy Keane and they will continue to qualify in the future because Ireland will always be greater than just one average player. Only penalty kicks stopped Ireland from progressing in the World Cup, who knows how far they would have gone on if they had beaten Spain
Mark Evans, Wales

It is sometimes sad and disappointing that some top stars allow themselves to be ill-advised by some coaches and managers. Alex Ferguson`s influence on the guy`s thinking is immense. I would have loved to see him don his national colours again not only to serve Man U until retirement.
Charles Owusu Dapaah, Ghanaian based in USA

Will his condition stop him playing in Man Utd's money-spinning pre-season friendlies in the Far East?

Eddie, UK
I am not sure of all the facts, nor do I think it matters. To represent your country in any sport is an honour many can only dream of. How dare Roy Keane belittle what everyday people see as only a glorious opportunity, to be admired by millions. His little tit for tat with Mick McCarthy was disgraceful and I hope for Roy's sake all the money he will make at Man Utd is worth turning his back on his homeland. I like many other Irishmen will not forget.
John, Canada but Irish

Is anyone really surprised that Keane has quit the Ireland team? Let's face it he never had any intention of returning and with Alex Ferguson "advising him" there was even less chance.

"Medical reasons"? How convenient. Will his condition stop him playing in Man Utd's money-spinning pre-season friendlies in the Far East or wherever else they can rake in a few £million more?
Eddie, UK but from Wicklow

Matt UK. You are talking out of your backside. No doubt you are another Manchester United fan with a supercilious and myopic belief that nothing exists outside Old Trafford.

I can't believe that six matches a year can have such an impact on someone who plays for a team that sees it fit to swan off to Brazil to play in a Mickey Mouse tournament in the middle of a season.

What would your opinion be if Steven Gerrard decided to call time on his international career, to concentrate his energies on Liverpool? Exactly. Anyway Keane will not make a blind bit of difference in stopping Arsenal marching to another title!
Dave the Knife, England

Keane's return would have caused division and argument in a camp that performed solidly at the World Cup without him

Dermot, Japan

I will have a pint to celebrate tonight. Roy Keane threatened to walk out on his country last summer; that was unforgivable. His friends in the media then set about getting their revenge by eventually castigating a solid manager unfairly over two bad performances.

Keane's return would have caused division and argument in a camp that performed solidly at the World Cup without him. We need to move on and forget this sorry chapter.

To all of you Ireland-based Man U fans: Would you have been so forgiving of him had he not been a Man U player? Not likely. I think you need to quit this "Man U fans first, Ireland fans second" attitude. Wake up, the whole lot of you...
Dermot, Japan

You only have to look at Alan Shearer and the extent to which retirement from international football has rejuvanated his career to see that Keane is right to retire. He has been plagued with injuries recently and this decision can only benefit him.
Anthony Duffy, England

Roy Keane is in automatic-destruct right now. He will be lucky if he has 18 months left in top flight football. All the negative thoughts towards him, from tens of thousands of football fans, have taken and will continue to take their toll on him mentally.

It's a shame because he was a sight to behold when he was on his game and in full flight. The one bright spot for him will be that he and his family can live their lives in relative comfort. As an Irishman I wish him well in spite of it all.
Brian Houston, Canada

Keane is right to retire considering the advice given by the doctors. He did the right thing to consult his doctors, family and manager. But Keane's efforts to help his country are huge and will never be forgotten.

Mostly during the World Cup qualifiers and other cases, his captaincy was superb and it will take time for Ireland to get a captain like Keane.
Mukulo Micheal Gordian, Uganda.

Great Player with some super performances for Ireland. But the bottom line is that Roy Keane looks after number one at all times. This may be acceptable, but a decision not to play for your country on "medical advice". Come on, do we all look like muppetts? Take a bow Sir Alex, there's another one in the bag.
Kermit, Australia (Co. Down at heart)

Manchester United made the decision, not Roy Keane. It should have been his decision to make without any pressure!
Colm, USA

Was Keane missed against Scotland? I don't think so. Bye Roy.
Stan Sloan, USA.

One sad fact will always remain: There was a World Cup in 2002 where Italy, Argentina, Portugal and France were dropping like flies, and a Paraguay-USA-South Korea route to the final beckoned.

Whatever the rights or wrongs of Saipan, there is no doubt that Roy Keane will be severely missed by Ireland

Padraig Carley, Ireland

It was not to be however, as the FAI, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane all managed to shoot the team in the foot. This will haunt Irish football for years to come.
Bryan, Cork

Roy Keane's ego never got in the way of his playing performance. I don't know him personally so I can't say he is or is not big headed and ego driven. But I can say that he never, ever hid from anything or anyone on a football pitch and that is not the sign of a player who is more interested in himself than the team - can we say the same for all players playing for Ireland?

His talent is undoubted and his influence on what without him is a limited international team has been enormous. There is little doubt that we got to the World Cup on the back of inspired performance after inspired performance from him.

There is little doubt too that we would have done better there and in the opening stages of Euro 2004 with him in midfield. Gaps have opened up all over the place in his absence.

Whatever the rights or wrongs of Saipan, there is no doubt that Roy Keane will be severely missed in an Irish shirt and we owe him a debt of gratitude for his 58 brilliant performances in a green shirt rather than the other way round.

He has never "betrayed" anyone while performing for Ireland. He has expected the best of himself and those around him, something to be admired. He has been as unforgiving on himself as on others.
Padraig Carley, Ireland

You heaped scorn on him when he wanted to play for his country, but wasn't allowed. Now you heap scorn on him when he's allowed to play for his country, but doesn't want to.

There's never any satisfying the anti-Manchester United Brigade, whose boundless envy explodes in all-too-regular attacks against Roy Keene and Alex Ferguson, that lack any kind of objectivity.
David Jansen, UK

If he's fit enough to play for United, he's fit enough to play for Ireland. Its only six or seven games a year. He could as easily get injured in training as he could in Albania, Georgia etc.

I'm a Keane fan, a United fan, but I'm disappointed. Great player, got Ireland to the WC, his performances in qualifying will stand as a benchmark to every Irish player to come. Leaves a bad taste though.
Danny, Ireland

The days of the honour and ultimate desire to play for one's country have long gone. Roy Keane behaved disgracefully during the World Cup and his admission that he deliberately injured a fellow professional makes him unfit to be considered an international footballer. The attitude of his manager at Man Utd has not helped the situation.
Michael Carey, USA

Money-grabbing traitor. Take his passport away. Never was there a man more undeserving of the honour of wearing the green shirt!
Mike, Ireland

Bearing in mind the "medical advice" that Keane was given, will his season be restricted to certain games that A.F. deems as worthy of his presence. After all, we are only talking about four-six internationals a year.
Paul Johnston, Ireland (Derry City).

Sir Alex has been very selfish indeed

Ciaran, New Zealand

Let's face it, Keane never wanted to play for his country again, and it was a good method to oust McCarthy from his job, thereby getting back at him for what happen in Saipan. Good riddence, and let's hope he doesn't place his foot on Irish soil again. What a traitor.
Alan C, Ireland

It's a pity that he has decided to retire from the international scene. He could have finished his career on a high by helping his country to win the European Championships. Does that sound unrealistic?

Denmark looked like they weren't going to get to the finals and they ended up winning the whole tournament! Now he's going to have a prolonged career with Man Utd who have already won everything that can be won anyway.

Sir Alex has been very selfish indeed. I wonder what would have happened if Roy had been born Scottish?
Ciaran, New Zealand

Keane should be ashamed of himself. Yet again, he has let his country down. It is the highest honour for any player to represent his country.

Can you imagine the furore in England if David Beckham said he was going to retire from international football because 'Sir Alex' advised him to? Mick McCarthy was correct all along - Keane is a spoiled brat and Ireland will be better off without him.
Gerry Barron, Ireland

It's a shame that such a talented and passionate footballer's international career has come to end with such bitter final memories. Whatever his off-pitch problems, Roy Keane was and still is a magnificent football player who wears his heart on his sleeve.

Obviously Alex Ferguson is the only person that Roy will listen to

Gerard Carroll, Paris

I just hope that the Irish fans and players alike will remember all the good work he has done for the team rather than the unfortunate events of World Cup 2002.
Conrad, UK

Obviously Alex Ferguson is the only person that Roy will listen to - and when Alex said retire, Roy duly did. It is a cop out to blame it on 'medical advice'.

It is a disservice to Irish fans to say so. The plus point is that Brian Kerr gets to start with a clean sheet.
Gerard Carroll, Paris (but from Drogheda!)

Roy Keane is right to think of number one. The FAI has got exactly what it deserves after years of second-class facilities and second class treatment of players. I'm surprised Keane lasted as long as he did.

I treat the comments of Guy Le Maistre and Liz Mulqueen with the contempt they deserve. And as for Maurice, I doubt he lives in Ireland because he should know that Keane is not viewed as a traitor but a hero. A great reception was guaranteed if he had returned.
James, British Isles

I can't believe it. Sir Alex sticking in his nose again where it is not wanted, I am deeply disappointed with the news. It opens up the question of whether Mick was right to send him home in the summer and was Roy's heart really in it at all. We won't be better off without him but we will be better off without his ego.
Charlie Hegarty, Ireland

Roy's retirement from the international game is a sad day for Ireland, a great career cut short. Whatever people think of his actions during the World Cup few can deny his abilities.

Let's all remember what he did for Ireland on the field of play. Now he can concentrate on winning more trophies for Man Utd, and Irish fans can concentrate on supporting Brian Kerr and the team.
Jim, USA

If he is a true Irishman then it will be a decision he rues for the rest of his life

Liz Mulqueen, Thailand
Whatever your opinion on the affair it is sad that a player who has given so much for Ireland will now look back upon an international career that ended with his with his departure from Saipan.

It is a pity that Roy could not have retired having successfully led his country to one last major finals. It seems that events leading up to the last World Cup have cast a shadow over both Keane and McCarthy's final days in the Irish setup.
Paul Godwin, UK

Roy Keane, despite being an obviously talented player, is a spoilt brat who thinks he is beyond reproach, particularly from anyone in the obviously budget-conscious Ireland team.

This was perpetuated by Alex Ferguson in the World Cup by giving in to his tantrums and flying him back to the UK in the Man Utd jet when in my opinion he should have been left to carry his own bags, preferably in economy.

I'm sure that he will be missed from the team in terms of lost talent, but psychologically I'm sure both the manager/coaches and players will breathe a hefty sigh of relief.

Was he right to retire? In my opinion yes, due to his mental state. But if he is a true Irishman then it will be a decision he rues for the rest of his life.
Liz Mulqueen, Thailand

I'm delighted that Keane has decided to leave the Republic of Ireland football team. In most quarters over here he is seen as a traitor and is despised for the embarrassment he caused Ireland before the start of last years World Cup competition.

No man is bigger than the team and I think it was more cowardice than injury that forced him to retire from international football him. He couldn't be sure of the sort of reception he'd receive if he wore the green jersey again. Roy Keane, "GOODBYE".
Maurice, Ireland

Well, that'll keep Sir Alex very happy indeed. Wonder how much influence he had?
David Douvale, USA

Good riddance to bad rubbish, he should never have been invited back in the first place!

Paul Ryan, England

Roy Keane has made the right decision for himself. I think he is right to think of himself first given how he was treated in Saipan last Summer. The man dragged Ireland through a qualifying group that included Holland and Portugal and all the thanks he got was a knife in the back from his manager and team-mates.

World Cup 2002 should have been Keane's tournament. He was in the best condition of his life. I'm sure every Irish fan will understand his decision given his desire for a Champions League medal as well as the mistrust he now holds for his fellow International players. Irish football can now move on.
Brian F, Ireland

Medical advice? It seems strange that medics would say, "Roy, you cannot play in six games over the next 10 months or so. The bad news is would you believe it Roy those games are the ones where your country needs you."

Get a life Roy, do you think we are that easily fooled by the statement.
Eoin ó Bearáin, Ireland

Good riddance to bad rubbish, he should never have been invited back in the first place! The squad is better off without him!
Paul Ryan, England

Keane has done fantastically and served his country with huge pride when he pulls on the shirt. Basically, he is not getting any younger and he feels that he wants to focus on his club form. I always believed that after the well-known McCarthy bust-up, the scar of this will always be there so he felt it was the right time.

His passion and his commitment for playing for his country is a fact, but also Sir Alex Ferguson's opinions may have well pointed Keane into the retirement direction. But well done Roy, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you play for the Republic!
Akhlaq Hanif, England

This seems indicative of the current attitude of players, who seem to be more interested in prolonging their lucrative careers than playing for honour for their countries. Another example of football going down the pan!
Ben Cocker, Holland

It's a sad day for Irish soccer fans. It will probably a decade or more before anyone as talented and driven will wear his shirt

James Boshell, USA
Roy Keane's performances for Ireland will never be forgotten by anybody who watched his Herculean efforts for the team.

However his antics in Saipan and the long protracted route to tonight's decision will tarnish that memory.

Why did it take so long to decide? Irish fans deserve better, and sadly many will only remember this final act of a tragicomedy played out in the full glare of the media.
Brendan Walsh, Ireland

The appointment of Kerr as the Rep. of Ireland boss signals the start of a new era, something that Keane should never be a part of.
Tim, England

It's a sad day for Irish soccer fans. It will probably a decade or more before anyone as talented and driven will wear his shirt.

Hope of Euro qualification and the next World Cup are zero. Brian Kerr can install a lot into the players he is left with, but talent is not one of those things. The Party is over.
James Boshell, USA

Keane was a huge influence for Ireland during his playing days, but we have to accept that the team would not have adapted to his return very easily at all.

I believe he is right to retire and let the new blend of young talent come through from all the youth teams who have done Ireland so proud lately, and who better to bring in young talent than Brian Kerr?
Richard Maguire, Belfast, Ireland

Goodbye and good riddance to Roy Keane. Hopefully, he'll soon bow out of the Premiership as well. While recognising that he's been a great player, I still can't understand why commentators continually pander to his aggressive style of play.

A cynical foul, kick or over the top tackle is nearly always reported as a typically 'robust' Roy Keane challenge and he gets away with murder on the field. After the huge disruption he caused during the summer, I can't believe any sensible Irishman could possibly want him back.
Guy Le Maistre, Jersey, C.I.

I think he should have stopped his career because he wasn't going to get picked because of the quarrel in Ireland and he also needs to help Man Utd in their bid for the title.
Matt, UK


Republic of Ireland coach Brian Kerr takes charge of the national team for the first time

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