Harry Arter: I never asked for apology from Roy Keane

By Brendan O'Brien

Harry Arter never wanted, nor asked for, an apology from Roy Keane over the bust-up that prompted the Cardiff City midfielder to step away from the international game last month.

Keane was involved in a heated verbal exchange with Arter and Jonathan Walters in camp last June and the matter was serious enough for Arter to mark himself absent for the games against Wales in Cardiff and Poland in Wroclaw three months later.

It was no surprise when Arter opted not to divulge any details of the discussion with Keane – other than the fact that the peace talks were held over the phone rather than face to face and that those words, and others with Martin O’Neill, were enough to clear the air.

And his mind.

“Yeah, the manager has had his say on it. I didn’t say anything at the time and up until now I still won’t say anything.

“All I know is that when it comes to football and playing, that’s all I want to do. Criticism is part and parcel in football.

“I have never had a problem with being criticised in the past and I never will have going forward. I’ve been at Bournemouth for eight years and I can assure you that I’ve been criticised in them eight years and clearly it’s never been a problem and never will be.”

The 28-year old returned to the squad last week and was named as the holding midfielder in a 3-5-2 formation against Denmark on Saturday evening. He then took questions for almost ten minutes in the mixed zone afterward – an eternity as these things go.

“It wasn’t necessarily a change, it was just a discussion to try and put things to bed,” he explained.

I never needed an apology, I never wanted a sorry. I never wanted anything like that. I wasn’t in a position to do that, to be honest with you.

It was more just a case of ‘can we put this to bed for the sake of the team’ more than anything else.

“You don’t want to come away and feel uncomfortable within a group and, as I say, I feel more than happy to come away now.”

Arter played down the suggestion that all the hullabaloo had intensified the spotlight on him come kick-off on Saturday.

His main concern afterwards was his performance, which he felt was good enough defensively but not so effective with the ball.

He and everyone else, in that regard.

He never felt the need to go out and prove himself again, even if his early yellow card suggested an over-eagerness and one that left him walking “on eggshells”. The question is if any of his teammates had been doing similar in the days beforehand.

James McClean, for one, was typically forthright last Tuesday in stating that he didn’t agree with Arter’s decision to step away from the scene but both he and Arter have also insisted that such differences of opinion have not soured their relationships.

“I get on well with all the lads and that’s the truth,” said Arter. “I think the lads understood what happened and they are professional enough, they need to understand that everyone is different in football, everyone has different opinions in certain circumstances.

“That’s just the way life is and people view things differently. I wouldn’t say the lads have treated me any different since I’ve been back.

“I feel like I’ve got more experience now to try to help the other new lads who have come in. I feel I am the sort of character that gets on with everyone and I have never really fallen out with anyone in my life. So the other lads are all good lads.”

Arter was central to some of the game’s few storylines at the weekend.

His clearance off the line from a Simon Kjaer header on the hour was one of the more critical interventions, although it was an injury to his ankle 25 minutes in that prompted the biggest waves on a night of eerily calm waters.

Thomas Delaney, in possession at the time, saw him crumple to the turf and stopped playing only for Jeff Hendrick to nick the ball away and eventually send a sitter wide of the Danish post.

The Danes were understandably miffed. Arter, it seems, oblivious.

“I honestly didn’t see it. My ankle is a bit sore now because of the tackle. Jeff is an honest lad, there’s no way he would have attempted to go through... he thought the lad just gave the ball away and he went through and he didn’t hear a whistle.”

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