Leaked audio puts former Wolves man Stephen Ward at heart of Republic of Ireland row
Former Wolves full-back Stephen Ward has found himself at the centre of dispute which has rocked the Republic of Ireland.
In a leaked audio file, Ward – who now plays for Burnley – outlines details of a dispute between Roy Keane, Harry Arter and Jon Walters during a training camp in May this year.
Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has confirmed the authenticity of the audio file.
But he has since questioned Ward’s version of events due to the 33-year-old not being present at the time.
In Ward’s account, which is packed with expletives, he details how assistant boss Keane confronted both Walters and Arter after they sat out training due to injury.
Cardiff loanee Arter has since told O’Neill that he does not want to be considered for selection.
According to Ward’s voice message, Walters and Arter first had a row with Keane back in May when the Ireland coach questioned the duo about missing training due to injury.
Walters then offered to resolve the dispute – with Keane turning the offer down.
The situation then calmed down but Arter was again unable to train on the next occasion he reported for international duty.
And according to Ward’s message, that led to an angry exchange with Keane.
“They got back from France and Harry felt his quad in training again, so he wasn’t training,” it says in the message.
“Apparently he was getting treatment in the treatment room and Roy walked in and was like, ‘When are you going to train you f****** p****?’
“Harry was like, ‘What?’, and he was like, ‘Any chance of you training?’.
“Harry explained the situation again and Roy was going off going, ‘You’re a f****** p****, you don’t even care, you don’t wanna train.
“And Harry was just going, ‘Roy, I’m not speaking to you like this. I’m not listening to you. You’re not the manager. You can’t say anything to me’.
“Apparently Roy was going mad getting worse and worse and Harry got up off the treatment bed and was walking back to his room.
“As he was walking back Roy was shouting down the corridor, ‘You’re a f****** p****, you’ve been all your life.
“And that was really it lads. It didn’t come to blows but basically just Roy losing his head.”
O’Neill has responded to the leaked audio, confirming its authenticity but questioning Ward’s account.
“First of all, I don’t think that Stephen was there. Stephen wasn’t actually there,” he said. “He was just picking up on things.
“Jon is fine. Harry is perhaps not so fine. But I said to you before, you would have to ask whether that is the complete reason why Harry is not participating in these games this time.”
Meanwhile, former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy was coy on the row between Keane, Walters and Arter when asked about it.
The manager was involved in a famous dispute with Keane at a training camp in Saipan ahead of the 2002 World Cup.
Keane ended up leaving the squad before a ball had been kicked and later revealed McCarthy had questioned him over an injury problem.
McCarthy, half-hinting at hypocracy, said: “You never accuse a player of feigning injury, do you?
“Or do you have the right to do it, I don’t know.”