Roy Keane is optimistic for the future of football in Ireland and believes that qualification for Euro 2020 would be a big confidence boost as the FAI set about rebuilding.

The Association has experienced a tumultuous time since news emerged almost a year ago of the €100k bridging loan it needed from former chief executive John Delaney in 2017.

Delaney and the former FAI board have since departed, and structural reform has been undertaken, but interim CEO Gary Owens and his interim deputy Niall Quinn were forced to negotiate a rescue package with the government last month in the face of a €55m debt that threatened the organisation's survival. 

"It's tough going," former Republic of Ireland international and assistant manager Keane told The Late Late Show.

"It's tough but maybe it probably had to get so bad where there was kind of a new start.

"I don't think it's all doom and gloom. I think things can change quickly. We know what sport is like," he said.

"When I worked with the FAI, from a coaching point-of-view, I loved it, I thought there was some brilliant people there."

Keane clashed with former team-mate Quinn in the wake of the former's acrimonious departure from the 2002 World Cup but the pair subsequently worked together at Sunderland.

The Corkman is backing his ex-Chairman to turn things around, especially if Ireland can beat Slovakia and Bosnia or Northern Ireland to secure two home games at this summer's European Championships.

"Niall's back on board. Niall will have a good go off it, why not? I'll give him a chance.

"Irish fans are the best in the world, great supporters, and things can change quickly.

"If the team can qualify you'll see a huge change in momentum and hopefully, things will turn."

Keane has been working as a TV pundit since leaving his position as assistant to Nottingham Forest manager Martin O'Neill shortly before the Derry man was sacked last June.

The former Sunderland and Ipswich manager admits his career in the dugout has yet to hit the heights of his playing days with Manchester United but insists he is still hoping to get back in the hot seat somewhere - as long as it's an attractive proposition.

"I think I deserve another crack at it," said the 48-year-old. "I'm very lucky, I have a really good life now. I can pick and choose what I want to do.

"It would have to be a good offer and the worry is it probably won't be a good offer. My CV doesn't warrant Real Madrid calling me but I also don't want to go down too low.

"Going to Sunderland wasn't exactly an easy job and Ipswich, they were tough jobs. Ireland don't qualify for tournaments that easily. I think the next offer I might get or mightn't get will be a tough job, so I'll just have to weigh it up.

"But I honestly don't think you know until you're asked. I'll go with that gut feeling. I have a feeling in my bones, I think probably something will come up in the next few months and I'll have a look at it."

Earlier on the show, Keane met Manchester United supporter Darragh Curley, who hit the headlines this week for receiving a reply from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to a letter the Donegal youngster, an aspiring rugby player, wrote asking the German to tell his team to lose.