Belfast Telegraph

Armenia v Republic of Ireland: Robbie Keane to play but Republic struggle with injury

By Daniel McDonnell

Robbie Keane is set to play through the pain barrier for the Republic on Friday, allaying fears that his name will be added to the lengthy injury list for the Euro 2012 qualifier in Armenia.

The Republic skipper, who will stay put at Tottenham and endure a different kind of misery until January after a suitable option failed to pop up during the transfer window, wore a knee brace in training in Malahide yesterday.

He is still suffering the effects of a plastic pitch in Switzerland, where he made an impressive late sub cameo for his employers in their Champions League tie with Young Boys Berne.

However, he is confident that he will be fine for the Yerevan encounter; just the tonic that Giovanni Trapattoni needs after Paul McShane became the latest player to be ruled out by injury, with a decision on Darren O'Dea's participation to be taken before the flight this afternoon. Also, Richard Dunne sat out parts of yesterday's training session as a precaution.

After already losing Damien Duff, Keith Andrews and Keith Treacy this week, Trapattoni can ill afford any further setbacks- particularly to Keane, who was the Republic's best player in the Italian's first campaign in charge.

"It's sore when I kick the ball but there is no problem when I'm twisting or turning," said Keane, discussing the protective support he was wearing in Malahide. "It's something that I've had for a while but it will be okay."

He cut to the point on his club future. "I'm staying at Spurs as I always said," he replied. "What I said all along."

Keane's £70,000-a-week salary couldn't be matched by his main pursuers, West Ham and Newcastle, although his desire to join those clubs was also questionable.

Meanwhile, fellow striker Anthony Stokes completed his move to Celtic from Hibernian, while Marc Wilson's protracted switch to Stoke went through, in a deal that included Liam Lawrence moving in the other direction. Lawrence hummed and hawed about dropping down a division, before signing.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph