Updated: Friday, 22nd November 2019 @ 2:37pm

Not so Keane: Man Utd great leaves Aston Villa after struggle to balance roles

Not so Keane: Man Utd great leaves Aston Villa after struggle to balance roles

| By Patric Ridge

Former Manchester United stalwart Roy Keane has left his coaching position at Premier League strugglers Aston Villa.

Keane, who spent 12 years at the heart of United's dominating midfield before controversially departing Old Trafford in 2005, took up the assistant manager post at Villa Park in the close-season.

But now the 43-year-old Irishman, who has previously managed Sunderland and Ipswich Town, has claimed that splitting his commitments between assisting Martin O'Neill for the Republic of Ireland and Paul Lambert at Villa has taken its toll.

"Ultimately, my roles with Villa and Ireland, and combining my commitment to these, has become too much," he said.

"It isn't fair to either Villa or Ireland, so I've made this decision. I'd like to thank Paul for giving me a great opportunity to come to a brilliant football club.

"I've really enjoyed my experiences at Villa and I wish the management team, the players, the supporters and the club nothing but the best going forward."

Keane arrived at Old Trafford from Nottingham Forest in 1992, quick becoming a tough-tackling mainstay in Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield, and went on to make over 300 appearances for the Reds.

He left in 2005 when, after an un-aired MUTV interview in which Keane reportedly launched a scathing attack on the club's young players caused a large controversy, he joined Scottish giants Celtic.

Never afraid of a challenge, Keane took up his maiden managerial job at then-Championship side Sunderland in 2006, and took them back into the Premier League within a season.

However, he left in 2008 after a poor run of form, and didn't take up another post until he took the job at Ipswich in April 2009, though he left the Tractor Boys in 2011.

In November 2013, he was appointed as O'Neill's assistant for the Irish national team, before he took up the same post at the Villains, with many pundits and fans alike believing that Keane would actually replace Lambert at the helm.

The Midlands outfit's season got off to a strong start as they won three out of their first four league matches, but it has slumped with Villa having then lost six consecutive games and scoring just once.

Though they have steadied the ship somewhat in recent weeks, Keane's departure comes one day before their crunch clash against in-form Burnley, although manager Lambert claims he has no issues with Keane's decision.

"Roy came to me this morning and he informed me that, ultimately, the difficulty of combining both roles has prompted his decision, which I respect totally," he said on Friday morning.

"In the brief period we have worked together he has been great in the role and I understand his reasons for leaving."

Main image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.