MARTIN O’Neill expects a conclusion to be reached over Roy Keane’s future by Wednesday, when Ireland fly to the US for their summer tour.
Speaking at the press conference after his side’s goalless draw with Italy at Craven Cottage on Saturday night, the Ireland manager said that whilst he had not had further discussions with Keane about his potential move to Celtic in the build-up to the game, he was confident a decision would be made within a matter of days.
O’Neill said: “I assume that something will be resolved by the time we fly out to America. It’s not a case of what I want, but I think it will be resolved by Wednesday.
“It’s not a deadline that I’ve set, I would just assume, I’m sure Celtic would want to make a decision fairly quickly, they’re looking at potential candidates. They’ve got games coming up and I’m sure they’d want to make a decision.”
Celtic's majority shareholder Dermot Desmond held informal talks with the Cork man earlier this week, after the club confirmed that it was speaking with a “number of excellent candidates”, however it is yet to be confirmed whether Keane will travel with Ireland to the US this week for friendly fixtures against Costa Rica and Portugal.
Ireland may have showcased a promising display against England’s first World Cup Group D opponents on Saturday night, after previously losing 1-2 both to Turkey last Sunday and to Serbia in March, but O’Neill dismissed speculation that the optimism on the pitch would be the deciding factor preventing Keane from choosing to take over as Neil Lennon’s successor.
He also added that the departure of his assistant manager would be a “disappointment” for Ireland.
“I think we’d all be pretty disappointed. My own view is that he has settled in very well indeed, the players as I expected have really taken to him.
“He’s been terrific round about the place and I think he’s enjoying it so I think that’ll be a disappointment. I haven’t spoken to the players at length about it but I would think the general feeling is that they would be disappointed.”
With Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign kicking off in early September against Georgia, concern was raised that the speculation over Keane’s future could be disruptive to the squad’s preparations.
The Ireland boss instead attributed his team’s recent run of form to their “little bit of misfortune in front of goal”, which he “hope[d] we’re saving for the European matches.”