Monday 29 December 2014

Robbie Keane doubt for Georgia tie as Shay Given looks set for shock comeback

Published 29/08/2014 | 02:30

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill with Robbie Keane
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill with Robbie Keane
Shay Given

ROBBIE KEANE has emerged as an injury concern for Ireland's opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Georgia on Sunday week but his old mate Shay Given is primed for a shock return.

Keane missed LA Galaxy's 4-1 win over DC United on Wednesday night and his club coach Bruce Arena was unable to confirm that the Irish striker would be available for Sunday's meeting with Chivas USA.

"Robbie is day to day now," said Arena, who refused to specify his problem. "He might be available on Sunday. It was from the last game so hopefully he will be ready to go on Sunday but I am not announcing any medical updates."

Keane will captain Ireland for the forthcoming campaign and will be hoping for a better run of luck than the World Cup 2014 tilt where he picked up niggling injuries at bad times. The Tallaght man should be rejoined in Martin O'Neill's squad by Shay Given who is preparing to come out of international retirement after management decided that they wanted his services.

Given, 38, retired from Irish duty after Euro 2012 but the Villa reserve is wanted by O'Neill and Roy Keane who feel he is a superior option to David Forde and Keiren Westwood. Clarity on his Irish future is expected in the next 24 hours. The 125-times capped 'keeper would return as first choice ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Oman.

Meanwhile, the FAI have announced a four-year partnership with Setanta which will give the broadcaster exclusive live coverage of all Irish home friendlies in that time-frame, a deal that kicks off with that Oman fixture.

As part of the arrangement, Setanta have committed to showing 16 women's and U-21 matches as well as sponsoring the association's Emerging Talent Programme.

Irish Independent

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