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O'Neill backs Keane to succeed him as Ireland manager

REUTERS - Roy Keane has the all the necessary qualities to become the next Ireland boss, manager Martin O'Neill has said after the pair extended their deals through to the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday.

O'Neill and assistant manager Keane, who took charge of Ireland in 2013, led the country to this month's European Championship in France after a playoff victory over Bosnia in November.

Keane, who made 67 appearances for Ireland as a player, became part of O'Neill's backroom staff after failed spells as manager at English clubs Sunderland and Ipswich Town.

"It's a done deal and hopefully we'll still be here in another two years," O'Neill told British media.

"He has indicated he is in it for the long haul. I don't see any reason why he shouldn't follow me as manager. Genuinely, I don't see why that would be a problem for him."

Ireland open their Group E campaign in the 24-team tournament against Sweden in Paris on Monday. They also face Belgium and Italy in the group.

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; editing by Martyn Herman)

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