ROBBIE KEANE will decide whether to become Jonathan Woodgate’s right-hand man at Middlesbrough by the end of today after admitting the opportunity “excites” him.

But the likelihood of Keane accepting the post is far from certain because he is weighing up whether he can juggle the full-time position with being Mick McCarthy’s No 2 with Ireland.

Keane has made it clear he does not want to quit his position with his country, where he is enjoying the chance to learn from McCarthy.

It is also closer to his family home so Woodgate - who looks set to become head coach - is hoping the prospect of the Irishman helping to revive Middlesbrough’s fortunes can persuade him to take on the two roles side-by-side.

Nothing that his former Leeds United team-mate nor Boro chairman Steve Gibson said to him on Tuesday – after he flew in from Dublin for talks before heading back across the Irish Sea again – has put him off. It will purely be down to a personal, family decision.

Keane said: “Honestly, I don’t know. It’s happened so quick. I met them yesterday (Tuesday), had a lovely chat with them. The chairman was a pleasant fella, a really nice guy. It’s happened so quick that I haven’t really had time to think about it.

“The most important thing is the family as well. It’s a big thing to do, you know? It excites me. Working class people, with good values. Obviously I have known Woody 20 years. He’s a good friend. And if I can help him as much as I can I’ll do so.

“But I have to think about it. I’ve said that to the chairman: ‘gimme a few days to think about it’. The most important thing is I spoke to Mick and the FAI and they’re very supportive. And it won’t affect here, put it that way.

“And as I said, I wouldn’t have taken the job if Mick or the FAI said ‘we don’t want you do it, we want you to stay here and you can only do this’ – I wouldn’t have taken the job. It’s attracting me now because they’re very open of me going there.

“Listen, most of our players are in the Championship so you’re going to be seeing them every week anyway. Everyone’s been very good. The chairman’s been very good in terms of when it comes to the Irish team having a couple of days off and stuff like that. So it’s all positive to be honest with you. I’ll just think about it.”

Despite the obvious attraction, Keane knows he does not need to take on the Middlesbrough challenge – and the extra pressure it will bring – if he does not think the time is right.

He said: “I see a lot of people doing that but just me, the personality, at this moment in time, it’s a perfect opportunity. I retired a year and a half ago, well two years maybe. This is a great job for me in terms of my family and kids being here (Ireland). It was the right thing to step into this.

“Now what happens next with the Middlesbrough situation, we'll see. If I want to take it or not and if I think it's too much for me … that's something I will have to sit down with the family and certainly consider. I'm in a great position. I'm in no rush.

“I'm not desperate for a job. I don't mean this in a horrible way, please forgive me, but I don't need the money, it's not for that. I'm doing it because I love being around people, I love being around football. I don't know anything different. It's all I've known since I was 15 years of age.”

Gibson has decided to hand Woodgate the managerial reins after being impressed with a series of interviews he had. The challenge is on now for the 39-year-old to appoint a backroom team for his first managerial post.

Beyond having Keane as his No 2, Woodgate has had talks with former goalkeeper coach Leo Percovich, who has been working with Fluminese, ex-Boro coach Steve Round and Brighton’s Under-23s boss Liam Rosenior. Round and Rosenior have also been considering their options.

Keane expects to let Woodgate know later today, he said: “I'll make a decision by the end of the week. I have this gala dinner in London tonight but tomorrow (Thursday) I will have a proper think about it. I'll speak to the chairman, Woody and see where we are.

“I've been here, went there, back, dropped my little lad to school this morning, come here, I haven't even spoken to my missus about it properly. I need a few days just to sit in a room and have a real think about it and speak to close people like my friends, my brother, representatives and see what they think. It's not as easy as me going 'yeah'.”

Keane fancies a step into frontline management himself, but for now he is happy to progress by watching how others do it – and that could mean him not accepting the Boro role.

He said: "I'm 38, I'm young. Who gets a job at 38 realistically? You don't really, it's usually a lot older than that. I'm not desperate for a job, I don't need a job and I'm enjoying what I am doing now. I want to learn as much as I can. I will know when the right time is for me to move on and to be the head coach or the manager.

"At this moment in time, learning from Mick, learning from Mauricio Pochettino and going to the Spurs' training ground any time that I want to go. I have been there a good few times watching them and seeing how he interacts with people, seeing how his training sessions are, seeing how the assistant managers are. I am doing a lot of observing and I hope that it will stand me in good stead when I go forward.”

Middlesbrough are expected to confirm Woodgate’s appointment within the next 24 hours, so ideally he would have the main members of his backroom team in place by then.