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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

We’re not scared of Keane, insists Alex Pearce

The Reading defender says Ireland’s players want to learn from the new assistant manager.

Alex Pearce talks to the press at Gannon Park this afternoon.
Alex Pearce talks to the press at Gannon Park this afternoon.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer
ALEX PEARCE SAYS there’s no fear that Ireland’s players will be intimidated by Roy Keane.

The assistant manager settled quickly into his new role and took a hands-on part in Martin O’Neill’s first training session this morning.

Keane’s fiery reputation precedes him but Pearce, who is hoping to win his second international cap against Latvia, says the players are anxious to learn from a legend of the game.

Pearce said: “He’s a massive part of the country. It’s really great to have him on board and be learning from a guy like that.

“Obviously we’re well aware of what he’s done in the game and I think everyone is just trying to learn off him. If he’s got anything to say, players are going to take it on board for sure.”

Keane needs no further introduction to Jon Walters and Anthony Stokes, two players who fell out of favour during his days managing Ipswich and Sunderland. But Pearce says that there has been no mention of any past differences.

“Everyone’s just trying to have a clean slate really and every time they go into training, to try to impress the manager and take it from there.

“It’s a clean slate for everyone. It’s the first squad that has been announced and everyone has to try and take that opportunity and try to impress.”

He added: “It has been really enjoyable. Everyone has been buzzing in training. Spirits seem really high and we’ve got a good team spirit here anyway. The management team will only add to that and bring the best out of us.”

Pearce has been virtually an ever-present for Reading in defence this season with Nigel Adkins’ side riding high in the play-off places. His only international appearance to date came under Giovanni Trapattoni in a friendly against Oman in September 2012.

But after finally getting FIFA clearance to play for Ireland in competitive fixtures, the 25-year-old hopes his club form will open up more international opportunities.

“If I’m playing for my club, hopefully the international side will come with it too. I just want to impress every time I’m here really.”

Keane on bibs and balls duty during O’Neill’s first day on the training ground

11 ways to impress Martin O’Neill in his first Ireland training session

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