Roy Keane as Millwall manager: A case For and Against

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 07 October 2019, 15:20

Roy Keane has emerged as one of the early favourites to become the next Millwall manager.

Below we look at the pros and cons of the Lions appointing the Irishman as Neil Harris' replacement...

For Roy Keane As Manager

Fierce Character

Roy Keane demands high standards, he is very driven, he is aggressive, often on the offensive and would look to build a team that mirrors himself as a person.

They would play with a high-line, be strong in the challenge and play balls forward quickly, much like they did so well in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns.

Never once does he allow unprofessionalism to seep into a working culture.

If there is one thing Neil Harris had been guilty of, it was perhaps defending very passive performances away from home and that frustrated travelling fans.

Keane calls things as he sees them.

Successful Person

Keane has achieved a lot in his time in the game.

Granted, much of that is as a player but he also led Sunderland to the Championship title in 2006-07.

He knows what it takes to be a winner and we have seen the impact that John Terry and Frank Lampard, who have had similarly successful careers, have had on Championship clubs.

It is possible, too, that Keane’s profile would mean that players want to impress him in training and thus the standards could be raised.

Worked With Ireland

Keane has at times been critical of the attitudes within the Ireland camp.

He said the country should have been more focused on poor defending and goalkeeping for the goal that cost them their place at the 2010 World Cup than Thierry Henry, who caused furore by handling the ball to assist.

He has often been open about his feelings that the country should do more to prepare for major tournaments – and to be more self-critical when beaten by sides like Spain, rather than “just go along for a sing-song every now and then”.

Those comments earnt Keane a place as part of the Ireland coaching staff.

That has given him valuable experience, as well as an opportunity to watch Under-21s captain Jayson Molumby, who Millwall have on loan from Brighton.

Against Roy Keane As Manager

No recent managerial experience

After Keane left Sunderland in the Premier League, he had a stint at Ipswich, which was not as successful as hoped, in 2009-10.

Since then, he has been an assistant at Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest but has not been a manager.

One would have to say that Keane’s recent experience does not merit a job in the Championship – especially when we see the likes of Michael Duff, Michael Jolley and Matt Taylor doing so well in the lower leagues.

Not A Planner

Keane criticizes based on intuition, rather than on thought – he does not tend to choose his words very carefully.

That worked at Manchester United because, with the team winning so regularly, they needed somebody to have a negative input to keep everyone grounded.

At Millwall, the technical standards are not as high, and the team will not be winning every week.

The danger therefore, is that Keane goes in with unrealistic expectations, gets angry when his players repeatedly do not meet them and therefore irritates the players.

Whenever Keane speaks about football, he rarely gives off the impression that he studies the game very intensely.

If Millwall are to build a competitive side on a low budget, they need a manager who is down to earth, who is very reflective of their work, who studies their players in detail and works out a system to maximize their strengths.

It seems unlikely that Keane will be able to do that.

Too Much Of A Millwall Caricature?

There is a stereotype of Millwall that everybody who represents them must be this hard, brutal man who always looks for conflict.

Appointing Keane would arguably feed that stereotype, rather than support the reality that they are in fact a family, community club, with traditional values and a passionate group of fans.

While Keane is undoubtedly a successful figure in the game with many qualities, maybe Gary Rowett – the favourite at 3/1 with BetVictor – would be a better option.

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