Ireland skipper Roy Keane sent home

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane thrown out of the World Cup squad by team manager Mick McCarthy.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane has been thrown out of the World Cup squad in disgrace by team manager Mick McCarthy on Thursday. A statement from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said McCarthy had axed Keane after receiving unanimous support from the other players in the squad, as well as coaches and officials. Keane was sent home from the training camp in Saipan after a clear-the-air meeting over comments made by the player in a newspaper interview degenerated into a slanging match. Roy Keane's u-turn on Wednesday over his decision to walk-out on the squad seemed to signal the end of the dispute between captain and staff over the quality of the squad's World Cup training facilities. But after a meeting intended to help ease the ill-feeling between the captain and the rest of the party descended into yet another argument, manager Mick McCarthy made the decision to send Keane home, citing him to be "a disruptive influence". "The Irish team manager Mick McCarthy has informed the FAI (Football Association of Ireland), that following a team meeting today in Saipan, he has requested Roy Keane to leave the squad and return home," said John Delaney, Honorary Treasurer of the FAI. "We understand that the consensus of the meeting was that Roy Keane's recent remarks were totally unacceptable. It is also understood that Roy's response on the matter to the manager was considered objectionable," he added. McCarthy's decision has left Ireland in a state of shock, with stunned fans swamping radio station phone-ins and internet chat rooms over the loss of Keane, their only world-class player. But the FAI said that the manager took the appropriate action given the circumstances. "Well let's look at the sequence of events guys. Two days ago, Roy said he wanted to go, then he decided he would come back maybe an hour or an hour and a half later. At that side (squad replacement) Colin Healy had been brought in. Mick (McCarthy) is a very loyal, and very principled guy, and after many phone calls between Michael Kennedy, Alex Ferguson, myself, and Mick McCarthy's agent, the decision was reached with about five minutes to go that Roy would stay, and that was supposed to be the end of the matter. But Roy really pushed the boat out a little bit too strong today for both the players and the management, and team morale is paramount here. It's not an ideal situation but it's one we have to live with," Delaney said. After reversing his initial decision to leave the squad on Wednesday, with mystery surrounding the exact reasons for the u-turn, an article was published in Thursday's Irish Times which tore into the team's World Cup preparation schedule and coaching team. Keane first made his mark on the national team when he was an ever-present in the side, led by Jack Charlton, that reached the second round of the 1994 World Cup. The Cork-born star started his career at Cobh Ramblers before moving on to Nottingham Forest in 1990 for 30,000 pounds. From there he moved to Old Trafford for a then British record fee of 3.75-million-pounds and has since won six Premiership titles and three FA Cups. He has been vocal of his criticism of club teammates this season - after United finished with no silverware in sight he told fellow players it was time to "stand up and be counted." And he also claimed some United fans were more interested in eating prawn sandwiches in corporate boxes than watching the game. His latest blast at McCarthy, though, proved an outburst too far.

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