Roy Keane's beard: 'Clean Keane' returns as Republic of Ireland assistant manager shaves off beard ahead of Gibraltar clash

Keane had fashioned a rather ghastly beard over the past few months but appeared clean shaven on Friday night

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The Independent Football

Roy Keane has revealed his biggest shock yet following the release of his second autobiography – by shaving off his famous beard.

The former Manchester United captain has been one of the talking points of the week having launched The Second Half to reveal the secrets behind his controversial career even further than his first book did.

Yet despite the revelations which ranged from Sir Alex Ferguson to Alf-Inge Haaland, Keane’s two-tone beard that had developed since the end of last season had become the subject of much debate and of course, it was given the full Twitter treatment.

Speaking in Dublin on Thursday during the official launch of his book, Keane explained that he had grown the beard out of sheer laziness as he simply hadn’t had a shave.

But with the Republic of Ireland preparing for their 2016 European Championship qualifier against Gibraltar later today, the Irish FA tweeted a picture to reveal the beard was no more, and a baby-faced ‘Clean Keane’ had finally picked up the razor on Friday night.

They tweeted: “We can confirm #RIPtheBeard! Roy has decided to shave the night before our first home qualifier! #makethematch”

The Republic of Ireland assistant, who also works as the Number 2 at Aston Villa under manager Paul Lambert, has explained that he gave up on TV punditry to return to a role in the dug-out because it had become too easy.

Both he and Irish manager Martin O’Neill will hope that his new fresh look can inspire the national team to a match they really should be winning at the Aviva Stadium tonight, and continue their good start to their Euro qualifying campaign following the 2-1 win in Georgia last month.