Republic of Ireland coach Roy Keane insists he has nothing to apologise for

New assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland, Roy Keane insists he is there to help new manager Martin O'Neill.

Roy Keane: New Republic of Ireland coach is unrepentant over his past outbursts

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Roy Keane has refused to apologise for the attitude which led to him quitting the Ireland team and being branded a traitor.

The former midfielder was speaking for the first time since taking the role of the national team's assistant manager and made it clear he had no intention of changing - even if he did describe himself a "Mother Teresa" and pass up the invitation to hit back at Sir Alex Ferguson.

Keane's history with Ireland is littered with controversy and clashes, his combative character leading to dramatic falling outs with those in the international set-up when he was a player.

The most notable came when he lashed out verbally at manager Mick McCarthy before quitting the team at the 2002 World Cup in Japan, but he was unrepentant as he gave his first official press conference.

"I spent years trying to please everybody and, trust me, it's a waste of time and energy. You just have to do what you think is right."

Roy Keane

Keane told Sky Sports News: "I am not here to try to change anyone's opinions about me or decisions I have made.

"I spent years trying to please everybody and, trust me, it's a waste of time and energy. You just have to do what you think is right.

"I like to set high standards - a lot of people seem to have an issue with that. The criticism I have faced over the last 15 or 20 years has been about me being very demanding and not settling for second best. I am certainly not going to apologise for that."

How well that goes down with fans remains to be seen and Keane accepts that, with new manager Martin O'Neill, he may have to win them over.

He went as far to concede that some supporters may never forgive him for walking out on Ireland as a player, but added: "I can't really worry too much about that. It's about the future, about today, trying to help Martin, the rest of the staff and the team.

"If we can do our job properly then hopefully people will get behind the team."

Keane took issue with Ireland's facilities and training before the 2002 World Cup and had numerous issues with the country's football association during his playing days.

However, the new assistant insists there were no problems with the details of this job and he was quick to accept it.

"If I felt there was an opportunity to work with a top manager as an assistant, I was always open-minded to it," he said.

"I know people think I'm a little bit crazy, but I would have been crazy to turn it down."

"We have come across each other a little bit covering a couple of matches but we are certainly not a pals' act. Martin is a very serious manager and I am hoping he is looking at me thinking I can be a decent coach or manager."

Roy Keane

On O'Neill's description of the mangament pair as "bad cop and bad, bad cop," but Keane claimed: "I think it's going to be the other way round, I think I am going to have to be the good cop.

"You obviously don't know Martin as well as you think you do. He makes me look like Mother Teresa."

He added: "We are certainly not buddies but hopefully we will work well together.

"We have come across each other a little bit covering a couple of matches but we are certainly not a pals' act. Martin is a very serious manager and I am hoping he is looking at me thinking I can be a decent coach or manager.

"It shows how strong Martin is, the fact he has brought me on board. Unfortunately, people might see me as a traitor or troublemaker of some sort but hopefully Martin's seen something in me which means I have got a lot to offer."

That something could include the passion and drive which Sir Alex Ferguson once saw in Keane, the player.

O'Neill insisted he would not gag Keane, but Ireland's new assistant manager did not want to discuss his reaction to his former boss' new, hard-hitting autobiography - yet.

Keane said: "I'm not going to sit here and defend myself regarding Alex Ferguson. That's for another day. Football is about opinions, no problem about that, but when it's lies, that's when you come out and say something.

"Today is not for that. Today is about talking about getting back involved with the Irish team with Martin, all positive."

Republic of Ireland v Latvia is live on Sky Sports 4 on Friday from 7pm.