Roy Keane: Gary Neville 'Will Not Be Calling The Shots' In England Dressing Room

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NEVILLE KEANE
Keane and Neville played with one another for 12 years at United | PA

Roy Keane has preached caution over Gary Neville's involvement with the England national side ahead of the European Championship, insisting he will "not be calling the shots".

Neville signed a four-year contract with the Three Lions last week and will join up with Roy Hodgson's staff and squad ahead of the Euro 2012 campaign.

But Keane, Neville's captain for eight years at Manchester United, is not convinced the outspoken former right-back will influence matters within England immediately.

“It’s important you are yourself. Listen, Gary can talk but don’t think for one minute he was as influential in the dressing room as people might think he was. Gary would say his piece but he wasn’t running the show. Far from it," he told Press Association.

"So don’t think for one minute he will be going into England and calling the shots. He will be learning his trade and being a link between the manager and the players, and I think he will be good at that.

“He is going to be working with top players and a top manager so there is no surprise Gary jumped straight into it. There is only one way to find out if you can do it or not – let’s get into it. It’s no good just talking about it. It’s not a week-to-week job. He will still have a bit of time off and will be learning from a top manager.”

The appointment has been met with nationwide approval, thanks to Neville's renowned frankness and experience, although his former club team-mate is typically reserving judgement.

"There’s a lot of thumbs-up, everyone says it is a good appointment, but I’d say let’s wait and see. We’ve got to give him a chance. He’s not done any coaching before. I know he has done his coaching qualifications but sitting in a studio talking about teams is very different.

"What he has got is he’ll be working under Roy Hodgson. It is not as if he will be calling the shots. He can learn his trade. I’m pretty sure if they have a decent tournament, or a decent couple of years, Roy Hodgson and his staff will get praise. If they don’t, the manager will get criticism and people will start criticising Gary. Gary’s a decent guy and he’s played at a decent level, but that doesn’t guarantee you success.”

Keane, 40, who will travel to Ukraine and Poland in his role as a pundit for ITV, has found himself on the same trips as Neville on numerous occasions this season, since the 85-times capped England defender has worked as a commentator and analyser for Sky Sports.

The Football Association confirmed Neville would maintain his media commitments, but the Irishman warned that a conflict of interest possibly lies ahead.

“I’m surprised he has kept his role with doing TV. That can be difficult. You can get your way around criticising players by saying: ‘I’d expect the player to do better.’ He probably won’t be as critical as me and speak in the terms I do. I know Gareth [Southgate] does it, but he’s not in the dressing room, he’s not on the training pitch, he’s not working with the players.”

Neville represented his country at Euro 96, World Cup 98, Euro 2000, Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.

Keane meanwhile featured at only one international tournament for the Republic of Ireland - the 1994 World Cup.

It is 10 years ago to the day that he walked out of the Irish camp in Saipan prior to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, after a row with coach Mick McCarthy.

The pair continue to share a good relationship, and Neville extolled Keane in his 2011 autobiography, as well as reflecting on an amusing anecdote involving the Cork-born midfielder.

Whilst players at Old Trafford, Neville sent out his new mobile phone number to the United squad, with Keane texting the reply: "So what?"

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