Saturday 3 December 2016

We have to be more streetwise - Keane

Published 21/06/2016 | 02:30

Roy Keane: 'It's football intelligence, decision-making, when to foul and not to foul. That all comes into the package' Photo: Sportsfile
Roy Keane: 'It's football intelligence, decision-making, when to foul and not to foul. That all comes into the package' Photo: Sportsfile

Roy Keane has told Ireland's players that they need to be smarter and braver to stay in Euro 2016.

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The Ireland assistant manager believes that poor decision-making and a lack of courage on the ball were the root cause of the deflating loss to Belgium on Saturday.

He has hinted that Martin O'Neill will make changes for the must-win Group E finale against Italy tomorrow, with Ciaran Clark and James McCarthy believed to be vulnerable.

They were both caught out for Belgian counter-attacks, with Keane referencing their mistakes without naming names when stressing that the Irish team didn't know when to commit tactical fouls.

He said that the underdogs could learn a lot from the Italian mentality which helps them to eke out victories.

"We have to be more streetwise," said Keane. "Italy are one of the best teams in the world at that. We're probably behind them and it comes from experience.

"It's football intelligence, decision-making, when to foul and not to foul. That all comes into the package."

McCarthy and Clark missed opportunities to halt the march of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard respectively and Keane was unequivocal about how he would have handled it.

"My advice would be take them out," he asserted. "From a player's point of view, if you smell danger and you think, 'We're in trouble here', then yeah, you do whatever you can.

"If that's a foul, then you foul him. It's not a crime. You might get a yellow card, you might even get a red, but your team might win. Sacrifices. You have to make sacrifices for your team. What do you think I would do? You need to play with courage - and balls."

Ireland will train in Versailles this morning before travelling to Lille as UEFA have ruled out a pre-match session at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy because of concerns about the pitch.

Jon Walters trained on his own yesterday and Keane indicated the Stoke man would have to take a much more active part today if he is to seriously come into consideration.

Irish Independent

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