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The former Manchester United manager believes that the Cork native can build upon his managerial experience during his tenure as Martin O'Neill's assistant

Alex Ferguson believes that working with Martin O'Neill's assistant manager will be "terrific" for Roy Keane.

Ferguson recently criticised Keane in his new autobiography, but the former Manchester United manager is confident that O'Neill is an appropriate mentor as the pair prepare to lead the Republic of Ireland.

The 71-year-old conceded that Keane had endured a difficult period since going into management but suggested that the Cork native would be better prepared to re-enter club management after working with O'Neill.

"I think it's terrific for Roy," Ferguson told reporters in Dublin. "He hasn't had a good experience as a manager but he's young."

He continued: "Roy went straight from playing at Celtic into management. It's hard, that. Now he's got good experience in Martin O'Neill, which he'll lean on, and if he does come back in to club football, he's got that practice now, which is better preparation for him."

Ferguson also praised Keane as a "fantastic" captain and player, noting that their relationship only soured at the end.

"It was only the last year," he said. "For 10 years he was a fantastic captain for me and player.

"He was unbelievable, really. When you talk about the best Manchester United players, Roy is in there."