Roy Keane defended by Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill appointed Roy Keane as his assistant in November 2013
Martin O'Neill appointed Roy Keane as his assistant in November 2013

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has defended assistant Roy Keane after he criticised Everton for their handling of injuries to Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy.

Last week, Keane called the police after being involved in an incident with a member of the public.

"Every time you mention Roy, it either seems to be a distraction or another issue," said O'Neill.

"Let me tell you straight - I'm delighted to have him."

Keane said at a press conference on Sunday that he believed O'Neill should hold talks with Everton to discuss the fitness of McCarthy and Coleman.

McCarthy has missed the Republic's last three Euro 2016 qualifiers and Coleman sat out the game in Germany in October.

Keane's comments prompted a swift response from Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, who accused him of "saying some stupid things sometimes".

Roy Keane and Seamus Coleman
Seamus Coleman appeared for Everton four days after missing the Republic of Ireland's 1-1 draw in Germany

However, O'Neill, who asked the former Manchester United skipper to join him in the Irish set-up following his appointment in November last year, insists he has no regrets about doing so.

"I chose in the first place to bring him in here, he's really been terrific," said O'Neill. "He has been everything that I wanted him to be.

"All the distractions - some things have materialised that actually aren't of his doing to begin with, so I haven't a problem.

"He's got a mind of his own, he can say what he wants. Again, unless it's absolutely and utterly in contradiction with what I am saying to you, then I do not have a problem with it. It is not an issue all the time."

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