Martin O'Neill has confirmed that Harry Arter's verbal altercation "might be part of the reason" behind the midfielder's elective absence from the Republic of Ireland squad to face Wales and Poland.
It was reported yesterday that Arter decided to stay away from the Irish squad owing to an altercation with Keane around friendly games with France and the USA earlier this year. O'Neill refused to confirm the details of the altercation, but it has been widely reported that the pair clashed over Keane's comments about Arter's fitness.
Speaking to the media today, O'Neill confirmed that Arter has decided to focus on his club career, and that the incident with Keane "might be part of the reason" behind his decision to stay away.
He wants to get back on track at club level. His club apps have been few and far between in the last 7 or 8 months, and he wants to concentrate on that.
[The altercation with Keane] that might be part of the reason. Could well be. I wouldn't deny that. He has a number of things to consider.
Arter recently signed on loan for Cardiff City after falling out of favour at Bournemouth.
Elsewhere, O'Neill said that reports that Declan Rice's decision to turn down a competitive call-up was because of a similar verbal altercation with Keane are "untrue".