Martin O’Neill has said that Roy Keane is ready to have a “reconciliation” with Harry Arter.
The manager made the remark at the end of a pre-match press conference in Wroclaw which only briefly touched on tonight’s friendly against Poland, as the media exchanges were dominated by the fallout from the leaking earlier in the day of a private WhatsApp audio message in which Stephen Ward can be heard giving an explosive account of Keane’s row with Arter and Jon Walters in the Irish camp at the time of the May and June friendlies.
O’Neill prefaced his comments yesterday by pointing out that Ward, who was out of the squad injured at the time, was not a first-hand witness to the scenes he described and, when asked if the player’s version tallied with the one given to him by his assistant manager, the manager replied, “no… it doesn’t tally.”However, having never disputed that a verbal altercation did indeed take place, O’Neill revealed: “I think there might be a bit of a reconciliation between Roy and Harry. Certainly Roy is up for that.”
Asked yesterday if that was also a fair summation of what has happened in his row with Arter and whether Keane feels he needs to apologise to the Cardiff City player, O’Neill answered: “Yeah, it’s a fair summation of it. I think a reconciliation is a possibility. You phrased it brilliantly. I am not absolutely and utterly convinced about my answer but I think it could happen and if it doesn’t… but I genuinely do think that it can happen.
O’Neill insisted that the buck stops with him for everything that happens under his watch as Ireland manager — including the actions of his assistant.
“If you’re asking about Roy’s criticism of players, let me tell you this is my responsibility, totally my responsibility, absolutely and utterly,” he said.
By Liam Mackey – Irish Examiner