Keane issues rallying cry
Published 10/09/2013 | 07:21
Robbie Keane has called for a united front as Ireland attempt to salvage their World Cup dream.
Anything other than victory over Austria at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna on Tuesday night will effectively end Ireland's hopes of rescuing a Group C campaign which was dealt a major blow by Sweden's 2-1 victory in Dublin on Friday.
That reverse piled the pressure on manager Giovanni Trapattoni amid speculation that he could be relieved of his duties within weeks once the final die is cast.
But asked if the players needed to show their support for the 74-year-old by producing a rousing display, Keane said: "It's for everybody, it's for us as a country to be proud to wear that green jersey.
"Whether that's doing it for the manager or doing it for the country or doing it for yourselves, it doesn't really matter.
"As long as we are all pulling in the same direction, as long as we are going to go out on to that field and give 110 per cent - you always do that for the manager and you always do it for the players around you.
"We are all in this together. We started together, so we will certainly finish together.
"Everyone is behind everybody, and hopefully tomorrow we can show that by giving 110 per cent on the field."
Trapattoni has insisted the debate over his future has not proved a distraction in the run-up to a key encounter, and Keane is equally adamant that the players cannot allow it to affect them either.
He said: "Whatever happens beyond these few games, that's out of our hands and the players' hands.
"As professionals, we have to stand up and be professional in the job that we do, and make sure we give as much as we can to that green jersey and the people back home who are watching us.
"All you can do in life is try your best and do everything you can possible to try to make people happy and do your best for the team, and if that's not good enough, then that's something that other people are going to have to look at."
Ireland's home form has been a particular concern during the current campaign - only the Faroe Islands to date have lost at the Aviva Stadium, with Trapattoni's side collecting just a single point from the visits of Germany, Austria and Sweden to Dublin.
However, their results on the road remain hugely impressive - they are yet to lose a qualifier on foreign soil under Trapattoni - and an extension of that record could hardly come at a better time as they look for a response.
Keane said: "I would be disappointed if there wasn't a good response. I think because of the importance of the game - at the end of day, if we don't get anything out of this game, we can forget about it.
"If that doesn't give you that extra bite in your belly, there's certainly a problem."