Martin O'Neill says further approaches to Roy Keane 'certain'

Roy Keane (left) and Martin O'Neill

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill says further approaches for the services of his assistant Roy Keane are inevitable but that it is an issue which "isn't really a problem to me".

After ruling himself out of contention for the vacant Celtic job, Keane travelled with the Republic squad to the US on Wednesday.

O'Neill described Keane's decision as "obviously good news for us".

"The players in particular are delighted, and so are the rest of us."

Speaking ahead of the friendly against Costa Rica in Philadelphia which takes place in the early hours of Saturday morning, O'Neill spoke of his belief that Keane's contentment with his Republic role had convinced the former Manchester United captain to reject Celtic's overtures.

"I think that he has enjoyed it here immensely - that obviously plays a part in his thinking," added the Republic boss.

"I'm sure there were quite a number of factors, but that was pretty important too.

"At this minute, he is enjoying it - he has just got started - and hopefully that might continue."

However, O'Neill is fully aware that it is highly unlikely to be the last attempt by a club to prise Keane away from the Republic set-up.

Aston Villa have had talks with Keane about becoming boss Paul Lambert's assistant manager, BBC WM 95.6 reports.

However O'Neill and the Football Association of Ireland have been playing down the speculation.

"In the future, he will have loads of offers, as he has had in the past and in the immediate past," O'Neill said.

"Things like this here will crop up again, with a wee bit of luck. I'm not saying Celtic will, but that type of job will.

"Everything now at this minute is on the backburner in terms of all speculation, all that type of stuff. I don't really want to continue on with this until we come back from the United States."

But in his next breath, O'Neill insisted that he could handle the continuing interest in his number two.

"Actually, it isn't really a problem to me. It will happen again, there's no doubt at all about it, and I will deal with it accordingly at that time, or Roy will deal with it accordingly."

With Keane's immediate future clearer, the Republic management are now focusing all their attentions on the US tour which sees the Irish facing Portugal in New Jersey next week after the Costa Rica game.

Defenders John O'Shea, Seamus Coleman and Damien Delaney had already been excused from the tour and the management's resources have been further reduced by the absence of Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark and Stoke striker Jonathan Walters.

Clark has not travelled to the US because of a knee injury while Walters will miss the Costa Rica game because of a virus although he has not been ruled out of the Portugal match.

Like Walters, Wolves full-back Stephen Ward could travel out to the US for the 10 June game after being troubled by a knock in recent days.

On the plus side, LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane will link up with the Republic squad after not travelling across the Atlantic for the games against Turkey and Italy.