Roy insists on 45 minute men

ROY Keane yesterday spelt out, once and for all, the guidelines which he expects his players to follow, in terms of a geography lesson.

Carl Marston

ROY Keane yesterday spelt out, once and for all, the guidelines which he expects his players to follow, in terms of a geography lesson.

The Irishman has sympathy for Middlesbrough's practise of insisting that their players live, or at least have a base, just 45 minutes away from their Teeside training ground.

Keane has set similar demands on his players at Town, which is a possible factor behind one or two who have failed to feature in his plans - injured defender Ben Thatcher and Colchester United loanee Kevin Lisbie appear to be the two in question.

Keane revealed: "I have spoken to the players about the issue of living a certain distance from the training ground.

"I don't mean them moving their wife and children, that's not up to me. I'm talking about having a base nearby.

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"At Middlesbrough, the distance was 45 minutes, because that was the distance from Harrogate where a lot of the good schools were.

"But there are lots of good areas and good schools around here, so I'm not even necessarily talking about 45 minutes.

"For any players we sign in the future, we'll be setting certain distances in terms of their contracts.

"I don't want my players commuting two hours to training every day, which is why one or two of my players have not been taking part.

"Players are quite happy to get their wages, but if you're only half-committed to a club, then you should only get half the wages!" insisted Keane.

And the Town boss was quick to highlight his own failings when on the playing staff at Celtic, in terms of not moving nearer to Glasgow.

Keane added: "I made a big mistake when I was at Celtic. I commuted, and sometimes I was on a flight to Edinburgh at 6am!

"Then I wondered why I kept getting injured! I tore my hamstring twice.

"Travelling is not the best preparation, which is why I decided to leave Celtic the following summer, because I couldn't commit 100%, and 99% is not good enough.

"What I'm saying is that you should at least have a base up here, and I'm not talking about a player having the odd night on a sofa!

"You don't have to be a sports scienctist to know that it isn't good to be travelling at least two hours to training, and then back again, every day. Travelling is tiring anyway.

"There are no hidden agendas. It's only one or two players.

"And I'll adapt to certain players, such as the older ones. That was the case with Yorkey (Dwight Yorke) at Sunderland and with Stern John with his situation here.

"Ben (Thatcher) is injured at the moment anyway. But it can't help your knee injury to be travelling three or four hours a day!" concluded Keane.

Front-runner Lisbie is spending the first half of this season on loan at Colchester, while Thatcher has not featured since damaging his knee against Norwich towards the end of last term.