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Manchester United Legend May Take Over Azerbaijan's National Football Team As A Coach

By Timucin Turksoy June 30, 2020

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Roy Keane / Ryan Byrne / INPHO

Irish football (soccer) legend Roy Keane may take over at the national men’s football team of Azerbaijan, as multiple reports claim him to be in talks with the officials from the Caspian country.

The former Manchester United captain may come back to a managerial role following a nine-year break since the end of his spell at the English football club of Ipswich in 2011, according to reports by the UK-based The Sun tabloid newspaper.

Azerbaijan picked Keane as the number one candidate to lead the national team in the Nations League campaign in autumn. Despite what is explained as ‘‘a generous offer,’’ the 48-year-old is expected to announce his decision in the next two days, as Azerbaijani officials are working to finalize their search for a new manager as soon as possible.

If terms are agreed, the former Irish national team midfielder Keane will fill the boots of the sacked Croatian manager Nikola Jurcevic. Before deciding to resume his career as a professional manager after almost a decade, Kean wants to be fully persuaded that his next job is right.

‘‘Roy Keane, like some other specialists, is on the list of candidates for the post of head coach of the Azerbaijani team, with whom we are negotiating,’’ officials at the Azerbaijan Football Federations Association (AFFA) said, according to a report by local 1news.az agency.

‘‘But because of the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, it is not possible to reach a final agreement, approve the terms of the contract and bring this issue to a meeting of the AFFA Executive Committee. This applies to all candidates. Now it is not clear how the pandemic situation will develop in the world.’’

Roy Keane kicked off his football career at the Irish Cobh Ramblers football club in 1989. He was transferred to Nottingham Forest in 1990. However, he rose in ranks at the legendary Manchester United football club, where he spent 12 years from 1993-2005. At Manchester United, Keane has won 17 major trophies that made him the joint-most successful Irish footballer of all time alongside Denis Irwin. In addition to his club titles, he claimed two titles with the national team of Ireland, for which he played for over 14 years in 1991-2005.

Kean’s coaching years started at the English professional football club of Sunderland in 2006. He led the club to a division title in 2006-2007 season and gained promotion to the Premier League. However, he resigned from his post in December and took over at Ipswich Town in 2009. This was the last head coach job of Keane. Later, he has worked as the assistant manager at the Irish national team, Aston Villa, and Nottingham Forest in 2013-2018, 2014, and 2019, respectively.

After getting job at Azerbaijan, Kean may lead the country’s national team’s Group C campaign against Luxembourg, Cyprus, and Montenegro in the upcoming UEFA Nations League tournament. 

According to the official fixtures revealed by UEFA on Monday, Azerbaijan will receive Luxembourg in the first group game of the Nations League on September 5 in the capital city of Baku. By November 17-18, all group games will wrap up, with Azerbaijan traveling to Luxembourg for the last game on November 17.