Keane back in Ireland squad

BY foxsports • March 1, 2010

Captain Robbie Keane has rejoined the Republic of Ireland squad for Tuesday's friendly against Brazil after recovering from a knee injury.

The Tottenham striker, who is on loan at Celtic, pulled out on Sunday after aggravating the problem in the Old Firm derby.

But he underwent a further medical examination on Monday evening and was given the green light to rejoin Giovanni Trapattoni's men ahead of the prestigious match at the Emirates Stadium.

Trapattoni welcomed the news but has not yet decided whether Keane will start in place of Leon Best, the Football Association of Ireland reported on Monday night.

Earlier on Monday, the Italian named Best as Keane's replacement alongside Wolves striker Kevin Doyle.

Keane, the Republic's record goalscorer with 41, is looking to win his 96th cap while Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane are set to extend their joint record to 103 international appearances.

Trapattoni has called on his players to invoke the spirit of Paris when they take on the five-time World Cup winners.

The Irish controversially missed out on a place at the World Cup finals following a play-off defeat by France, where Thierry Henry handled the ball in the lead-up to Les Bleus' winning goal.

So, rather than preparing for a summer trip to South Africa, the Italian coach instead will turn his attentions towards the autumn qualifying campaign for the 2012 European Championships - and there can be no better preparation than a meeting with the South American giants.

Trapattoni, who is definitely without Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne, said: "We will start with the experienced players, because to put all the youngsters in against a team like this would be dangerous.

"It will be important for us to play with the same mentality and performance as we did against France and Italy.

"But we will need more attention, because Brazil are a great team - every player can score a goal, they have so many creative and technical players.

"We will prepare with 100% attention and be compact, because we must not only press them, we can also not let such great players like Kaka have too much space.

"We need to be compact, every player must help his team-mate, be organised.

"If we play with the order like we did against Italy and France, then we can do it against Brazil."

Hull's Paul McShane looks set to come in alongside Sean St Ledger at centre-back while Doyle is a certainty in attack.

The Wolves forward has impressed in the Barclays Premier League this season.

Trapattoni said: "Kevin Doyle is a good striker - he is intelligent and scores goals, working for the team.

"In these two years, he has grown a lot because he is playing against good defenders.

"He is a very clever player and I am sure the big teams will be conscious of him."

Wigan youngster James McCarthy is expected to make his eagerly-anticipated debut at some stage on Tuesday.

Trapattoni believes the 19-year-old - born in Scotland - has a bright future.

"McCarthy can play behind the strikers, sometimes left or sometimes on the right," he said.

"James is a good young player, and in the future his manager can decide which position is better for him. At the moment, he is still searching for his position.

"In Italy it is the same as Ireland - where there is a young player with big potential, everybody has great expectation.

"Only Pele, (Diego) Maradona and (Johan) Cruyff were stars at 19 - everyone must grow and develop, with personality, slowly, slowly, step by step."

Tuesday's game is the first of four warm-up matches ahead of the competitive qualifying action, when Ireland will face Russia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra.

Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan maintains the squad are looking to put the disappointment of World Cup heartbreak behind them.

"We have to move on now and forget about it," he said.

"Hopefully it will not come to that again, and we get out of the group the first time, rather than the play-offs.

"Of course, though, when the World Cup does come round and you see France there, that disappointment may come back again."

Whelan added: "Nobody really gave us a chance of winning the group last time around, whereas now expectations have gone sky high.

"On paper, maybe people will say it is a bit easy, but there are no easy games in international football. We have some tough places to go, but we just have to worry about ourselves."


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