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Thursday 2 October 2014

'Bring it on' – Keane relishing prospect of hostile Georgian encounter

Published 04/09/2014 | 13:35

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Ireland assistant Roy Keane says that he relishes the prospect of an intimidating atmosphere in Georgia on Sunday and is confident Martin O’Neill’s side will be ready.

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The Corkman doesn’t see the prospect of a rough welcome as a negative and suggested it is what the Irish group want as they get their Euro 2016 campaign underway.

“The reason we play these games is to get involved in tough qualifying matches,” said Keane today.

“It's going to be tough obviously but my goodness obviously we've got to look forward to the game. You keep going on about a hostile atmosphere. Brilliant. Bring it on

“I think everyone seems frightened to death in the media. A lot of negativity. Strangely enough I'm sure if we qualify, you'll be the first to celebrate and have a jolly-up over there but from the players' point of view and manager and staff, a top top manager, we'll be ready - don't be worried about it.

“It is a tough game, particularly away from home, but from the angle I'm looking at we've got to make sure we get our own together, get it right tactically, pick the right team, and if we're at it then we can give them a tough game.”

Meanwhile, Keane says it is important not to put any pressure on young Aston Villa star Jack Grealish who faces a decision between Ireland and England with regard to his senior international future.

Keane works with Grealish in his role as Villa number two and says it is important to give the talented midfielder space to consider his options. The 18-year-old is with the Irish U21 squad this week ahead of tomorrow's meeting with Germany but has stalled on a senior commitment that would tie him down.

“All I know is that the manager [O’Neill] and met with him..I speak to him. He's a really good player, I think he's playing with the U21s this week," said Keane.

“He'll have a decision to make when he's ready. We're not putting him under pressure. We'd love to have him on board, he's a really, really good player.

“And we know we haven't got a massive group of players to pick from so if he comes on board it'll be absolutely fantastic because I think he's got a chance of being a really good player.”

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