Roy Keane: Alcohol 'is an issue with Irish players'


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Saturday, 1 May 2010

Roy Keane has expressed his belief that alcohol-related problems are 'an issue with Irish players'.

The Ipswich manager and former Republic of Ireland international admits he was something of a tearaway in his younger days but believes there is an underlying problem with footballers, particularly young Irishmen.

Keane, a friend of Paul McGrath whose problems with alcohol have been well documented, said in the Irish Times: 'I was talking to Paul a couple of months ago.

'Everybody loves Paul, but he knows the score. He knows where to go and get help. He says it himself. He has to help himself. It has to be down to Paul. I can't do it for him. How many people in Ireland have tried to help Paul? He knows by now where to get help.

'When I was having my own escapades I hope I was being young and raw and stupid. I went too far sometimes, but my social life in that way had a short life-span. Burned out. The penny dropped a few years ago for a number of reasons. Thank God.

'I care about Paul. I care about the man. When the playing stops the buzz goes, but for some lads that need is there even when playing. I can just say to Paul that he can stop if he goes to the right people.

'When you stop playing there is a bit of boredom. People throw drink at you, not helping. Paul knows where to go. He has to want it.

'Living in Ireland, the drink is going to be there all the time. When I come back I get a bit of a buzz for two or three days. I think it's embedded in us. This thing, 'let's get out, there's something on here and there'. Drink. It's in the air.'

Keane also warned that the problem extends beyond his former national team colleague.

'Especially when you stop playing and you are getting up for the day and there is no buzz, you need it,' he said.

'It's a problem. It's there, especially in the Irish players, I notice. In my short time in management I notice that just about every incident we have had to deal with that is drink-related, it is Irish lads.

'It's an issue with Irish players. Always.'