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Sunday 4 December 2016

Roy Keane hails physical approach of Republic 'warriors'

Published 17/06/2016 | 07:31

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane is enjoying the physicality of Euro 2016
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane is enjoying the physicality of Euro 2016

Roy Keane has saluted the "warriors" who have brought the physicality he loves to Euro 2016.

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The Republic of Ireland's assistant manager was never afraid of a challenge during his days as Manchester United and Ireland skipper and has been impressed by the players who have put their bodies on the line during the opening week of the tournament in France.

Keane said: "I think it has been a good tournament from the physical side of it. I was watching Albania [against France] the other night and they were outstanding, physically strong, and not holding back. That's what the game of football is about.

"We all admire a bit of skill, but when you see people's bodies on the line, that's great. I like that side of it.

"You're on about our lads getting tired, but that's because they were giving everything they've got and that's what you expect.

"You want to see warriors out there and we're seeing that, not just in our group of players, but to be fair, in other teams too. I love watching that."

The Republic will have to answer Keane's rallying cry once again against Belgium on Saturday afternoon if they are to boost their hopes of making it out of Group E after their opening 1-1 draw with Sweden.

Martin O'Neill's men were on the front foot for much of that game, but finally had to make do with a point after Ciaran Clark's late own goal handed the Swedes a lifeline, and Keane admitted he was excited by what he saw.

He said: "I enjoyed watching it. You're always worried going into a competition how a team will cope with it and the players seemed to enjoy it, which was really good. They played with a lot of freedom, which was good to see from a coaching point of view.

"We were desperate to get the second goal you always know 1-0 is difficult to hold onto even when you're having a good spell against Sweden. We knew they going to have their good spell and we just couldn't get through it.

"But yes, I enjoyed watching it. I think the fans did and the atmosphere was fantastic. Both sets of supporters were brilliant and both teams really got stuck into each other."

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