Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane has revealed teenage defender Shane Duffy is already looking forward to returning to action.
The 18-year-old was fighting for his life less than a week ago after suffering an horrendous freak injury in a training game at Malahide.
Republic doctor Alan Byrne admitted at the weekend that the youngster was literally seconds away from death after rupturing his hepatic artery in a collision with Irish Amateur team keeper Adrian Walsh last Friday evening.
However, surgeons at Dublin's Mater Hospital performed a life-saving operation and Duffy is now well on the way to recovery.
Keane, Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, his assistant Marco Tardelli and fitness coach Fausto Rossi visited the Everton player in hospital and found him in good form.
The Tottenham striker said: “He was very upbeat.
“The lads went in last week and said he wasn't obviously looking very well, but I went in yesterday and he was fine, he had a colour in his face.
“Obviously, he is still in a little bit of pain, but his family was there and it was certainly nice to see him. He is a very nice lad.
“Considering what happened to him, he is very upbeat and he is already looking forward to getting back playing.
“His family was there as well and they are a lovely, lovely family. It was only right as captain to go in and see him.
“Myself, the manager, Marco and Fausto went in also, and it was good to see him. He is looking well and he is a very, very lucky boy.”
Duffy could be back in action within three months, but Keane could reach a personal landmark before his return.
He will win his 99th senior cap against Algeria tonight, and that means he could complete a century when Argentina arrive in Dublin for the first international football match at the Aviva Stadium, the former Lansdowne Road, in August.
That would complete a circle for Keane, who made his first home appearance for his country against the South Americans as a teenager in April 1998. He said: “It's bizarre how things work out, but I don't want to jump the gun too quickly in case of injuries and what have you.”