Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr has spoken of his disappointment at Roy Keane’s decision to retire from international football.
‘I had a meeting with Roy Keane last Thursday for three hours – and the meeting went very, very well indeed,’ said Kerr.
‘I left the meeting very happy, and Roy gave me an unequivocal commitment that he would be back to play in the team and that he 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.’ Kerr added:
‘Before I spoke to Roy, Sir Alex Ferguson had called me to explain the medical difficulties and also to explain that it was not the desire of Manchester United that he continue to play for Ireland.
‘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.
‘I have been employed by the Football Association of Ireland to do this job, irrespective of whether Roy was going to play or not.
‘I made no commitment to the FAI that Roy would return. They did not make any demands of me that I would pick any certain players, and that’s howit will stay.
‘I am going to move on. I have 40 players here who want to play for Ireland. I need to move on with the players who want to play for Ireland for the future, and that’s what I intend doing.’
Keane confiirmed hisretirement in a statement yesterday, claiming he was unable to cope with the twin demands of club and international football.
‘During a meeting with Brian Kerr last week, he outlined to me his future plans for the Irish team,’ said Keane in last night’s statement.
‘It was my first meeting with Brian, and I formulated the opinion that the Irish team was in very capable hands.
‘It has always been my desire to play again for Ireland and following my meeting with Brian I discussed in depth with my manager Alex Ferguson, my wife and my immediate family the possibility of my return to international football.
‘I also consulted with my medical team who operated upon my hip last September. ‘The unequivocal advice given to me by my doctors was that I should not return (to international football).
‘In the light of such advice I regret that I am compelled to confirm my retirement from international football.
‘I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received in recent months and I am equally sorry that I am unable to play again for my country.
‘I wish Brian and the players the best in the future. They will have my full support at all times.’