Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has spoken positively of the impact Roy Keane has had on the club since being named Paul Lambert’s new assistant manager earlier this summer.
After previous assistant Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa were both sacked by the club following reported allegations of bullying, the decision to appoint Keane came as somewhat as a surprise, considering his reputation as a fiery customer.
However, after glowing reports from the club’s pre-season tour of the USA, Given has further backed his former Republic of Ireland teammate’s arrival at Villa Park, while moving to quash claims that his supposed ‘dark-side’ could have a negative impact on the squad.
‘I’ve known Roy for a number of years obviously, with my Irish connections and having played alongside him on many occasions,’ he told Sky Sports News.
‘It’s great to have him here. He’s a real leader, character and great assistant for the manager. He’s a manager himself as well. With the two of them at the helm, it’s great for the club.
We’ve only seen the good side of him so far His dark side always gets talked about but he’s been helpful to all the players, out there coaching and giving advice,’ he added.
‘When an ex-player like Roy gives you advice you take it on board. He was a fantastic player of course and especially for the young lads, he’s a great help for them.’
Keane previously managed Sunderland from 2006 to 2008, convincingly winning the Championship in his first season in charge, before guiding the club to Premier League survival with a 15th-place finish in 2007-08.
The Manchester United legend would step down in December 2008, however, after a tumultuous start to his second top-flight campaign, before a disastrous season-and-a-half spell at the helm of Ipswich Town saw his managerial reputation left in tatters.
Out of the game since January 2011, largely it’s thought due to criticism of his harsh man-management style, Keane would finally return in November 2013 as Martin O’Neill’s deputy with the Irish national team, in a role which he will continue part-time alongside his duties at Villa.
With his years of experience at the top of the game, the 42-year-old’s no-nonsense approach could well be what’s needed to kick some life into Lambert’s listless side, after two seasons spent battling relegation at the foot of table, while serving as another knowledgeable head for the fledgling squad to look to.
Nevertheless, if Villa get off the poor start this campaign then one can guarantee questions will begin to be asked of not just Keane’s aptitude but the entire managerial setup, in what looks set to be another challenging campaign for the financial-stricken club.