7 Nov 2013

O'Neill set to take over Ireland

5:59 am on 7 November 2013

Ireland is set to appoint Martin O'Neill as manager and Roy Keane as his assistant, more than a decade after the former captain walked out on the team at the 2002 World Cup.

O'Neill, the former Aston Villa and Celtic boss, will take over from Giovanni Trapattoni, who quit in September.

O'Neill, once touted in the media for a big club job in England after winning three Scottish league titles and reaching the UEFA Cup final in a successful spell at Celtic, was sacked as manager of struggling Sunderland earlier this year.

He will be charged with picking up an Ireland team that finished in fourth place in the recent World Cup qualification campaign and were outclassed at Euro 2012 when Trapattoni was widely criticised for his negative tactics.

Keane, the former Manchester United midfielder, regarded as one of the country's greatest players, had a major fallout with the FAI over what he saw as amateurish preparations for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, and despite returning to play two years later, he has remained a vocal critic of the association.

Keane also had a stint in charge of Sunderland but saw his coaching ambitions stall during an unsuccessful period at second tier Ipswich Town.