Aston Villa: What Roy Keane Brings to the Club

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Aston Villa: What Roy Keane Brings to the Club
Peter Morrison/Associated Press
Roy Keane appointed Aston Villa assistant manager

While Aston Villa supporters await news regarding the ownership of the club, the appointment of Roy Keane as assistant manager would suggest that addressing business on the pitch is very much the priority at Villa Park.

Aston Villa's summer began with the announcement that Randy Lerner would be selling the club after eight years of ownership, bringing to a close a tenure that has brought periods of positivity and hardship in equal measures, with the coming and going of three managers before the arrival of current boss, Paul Lambert.

The selection of Keane as Lambert’s assistant is an intriguing one, with touches of irony, too, given that he is simultaneously serving as assistant manager to Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland.

O'Neill was the first man to take the helm at Villa Park during the Lerner era, and his four years in charge between 2006 and 2010 were without question the most successful in the Villans' recent history. The side achieved a sixth-place finish three years running.

Significantly, Keane brings what O'Neill claimed Lerner lacked upon his departure from the club: ambition.

The 42-year-old Irishman, with a frank and unforgiving approach in previous managerial positions at Ipswich Town and Sunderland, has established himself since his illustrious playing career with Manchester United as a tough taskmaster.

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With such a young squad, Lambert has faced a considerable upheaval since his arrival in June 2012 to perpetuate the club's Premier League status, finishing just five points clear of the relegation zone last term.

Successful though he has been in that survival task at least, Villa fans remain restless about the future and Keane’s ambition and discipline might constitute the remedy for which they have been searching.

"I am delighted to be joining Villa and look forward to what promises to be an exciting challenge," Keane said in an interview with the BBC’s Pat Murphy.

"I am relishing the prospect of linking up with Paul Lambert and combining both roles to the full advantage of both Villa and Ireland."

The forthcoming season is indeed likely to be a challenging one for Keane and for Villa. but the trying experience of the last few seasons has hardened the Aston Villa squad and will surely stand them in good stead for the upcoming campaign.

Experience is a vital asset that Keane will carry into his position at Villa Park, his 12 years in Manchester United's midfield the perfect credentials for the man who will be charged with nurturing developing players such as Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph and Andreas Weimann.

Talking to the BBC's Pat Murphy, Lambert was quick to Keane’s understanding and experience:

Roy has a great knowledge of football, on the coaching side as well, and he’ll be a great asset and a big help to everybody here at Aston Villa Football Club. I’m really looking forward to working with him and I’m delighted that he’s here. The players will love working with him.

With the appointment coming amidst ongoing speculation over the club's ownership, there appears to be an air of uncertainty about just how long this Lambert and Keane partnership will be allowed to blossom.

However, the signs look good for Villa who have recruited a man who will, for as long or short as required, ensure the players are fighting for Lambert's cause.

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