By Brian Doogan
Paul Lambert believes Roy Keane's experience, knowledge and qualities as a longstanding, leading professional will provide valuable impetus going into the new season, as Keane's appointment as Aston Villa assistant manager was confirmed.
Keane will begin his new role ahead of the Villa squad's return to pre-season training on Monday, July 7, while continuing in his position as Republic of Ireland assistant manager, and he is relishing the prospect of returning to the Barclays Premier League with Villa.
"I am delighted to be joining Aston Villa and I look forward to what promises to be an exciting challenge," Keane said.
"I am grateful to both Villa and the Football Association of Ireland for making this happen and I would like also to thank Martin O'Neill.
"I am relishing the prospect of linking up with Paul Lambert and combining both roles to the full advantage of both Villa and Ireland".
The Villa manager has no doubt that Keane's input will be a huge asset during the upcoming campaign having got to know him well over a number of years.
"Roy has a great knowledge of football, on the coaching side as well, and he'll be a great asset and a big help to everybody here at Aston Villa Football Club," Lambert said.
"I'm really looking forward to working with him and I'm delighted that he's here.
"As a player, he was one of the most accomplished in the history of the Barclays Premier League and he's brought that experience gained over many years into his career in coaching and management. The players will love working with him.
"Although we never played together, we competed against one another and he's someone for whom I have a lot of time and respect. He has worked under some great managers, some of the most successful in the game, and he'll be a great help to myself as well.
"Roy brought Sunderland up out of the Championship and into the Premier League, he gained further experience at Ipswich - where we were close rivals while I was manager at Norwich - and he's now working at international level as assistant manager with the Republic of Ireland.
"All of that experience and knowledge along with the qualities he has as a longstanding, leading professional in the game means he will bring a lot to the table. We're delighted to have him here."
Keane began his career in management immediately after his retirement as a player, taking charge of Sunderland in August 2006.
In his first season he led Sunderland to the summit of the Championship, twice winning the Championship manager of the month award and, at the end of the season, the Championship manager of the year award.
The Black Cats finished 15th in the Premier League in 2007-08 before Keane's departure in December the following season.
He managed Ipswich from April 2009 to January 2011 before joining the Republic of Ireland as assistant manager to Martin O'Neill.
Keane began his playing career with Cobh Ramblers in Cork before joining Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest in 1990.
He played 123 times in all competitions for Forest before joining Manchester United for a then-British record £3.75m transfer fee in 1993.
He went on to reach the pinnacle of English and European football at United, winning seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League, as well as four Community Shields.
He was named to the PFA Team of the Year five times, won the FWA and PFA Player of the Year awards in 2000 and was named as part of the FIFA 100 in 2004, the 100 greatest living footballers.
He moved to Celtic in 2005 where he won the Scottish Premier League and League Cup double before retiring as a player in June 2006.
He has also played a prominent role in ITV's football coverage as chief football analyst before relinquishing the role prior to the World Cup in Brazil.
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