Keane’s comments reveal some cracks in Aston Villa project

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Roy Keane’s role as Aston Villa’s number two had been credited for a breezy start to the new season for the midland club, though with results faltering recently, the Irishman’s latest comments will worry some of a claret-and-blue persuasion.

Firstly in a candid interview with the BBC about the release of his latest book, Keane told former Republic of Ireland teammate and pundit Kevin Kilbane that he was eager for a return to management if the right opportunity presented itself.

The bushy-bearded Manchester United legend also stated that he had considered taking the Celtic job when offered to him this summer, but declined it in favour of joining up with Paul Lambert to assist at Villa Park.

But just days after that interview was aired, Keane has sensationally declared that if the Villa job interferes with his other post as assistant to Martin O’Neill at Ireland, he’ll walk away from the Premier League club.

“I feel that if I am taking my eye off the ball with Ireland, then I will leave Aston Villa,” said Keane. “There is no doubt about that. I have told Paul Lambert that, told Martin that and told the FAI that.

“But at the moment, it is OK. If we lose three or four on the spin (with Ireland), then I will leave Villa.

Suddenly the feel-good factor surrounding Villa’s start to the season is beginning to dissipate it would seem, as impressive wins at Stoke and Liverpool have been replaced by three successive losses, albeit to top sides in Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.

With Everton and Tottenham, two members of last season’s top six, to come in the next three games, the quest to get back on track in the top flight will not be simple, although a fixture with bottom side QPR is the filling in that particular fixture sandwich.

There are still plenty of positives for Villa, not least the return to action of Christian Benteke, the continuing rise of Fabian Delph and the vast improvements made by Nathan Baker at centre-back.

However, Keane’s commitment to the cause could yet have a big bearing on where they finish.

Currently 10th after seven games, it’s 21/10 that Villa stay above the Premier League fold come the final May shakedown, whereas it’s 3/10 they end up finishing below it for the fourth consecutive season.

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