Thursday 21 September 2017

'Hit him' - Assistant boss Keane's plan to stop Gareth Bale

Irish assistant boss says Welsh star must be subjected to tough night

Gareth Bale (centre) going through his paces at Wales training yesterday. Photo: PA
Gareth Bale (centre) going through his paces at Wales training yesterday. Photo: PA
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Roy Keane has urged Ireland's players to use their brains when it comes to stopping Gareth Bale on Friday - but do not to be afraid to use some brawn either.

The £85m Wales star is the main threat facing Ireland in the World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium and Keane knows it will be difficult to keep a 'world-class' opponent quiet for 90 minutes.

But he thinks a combination of football intelligence and some old-fashioned physicality will have to be used in an attempt to subdue the Real Madrid attacker.

"The basic advice to any player if you're up against a world-class player is to get him as quick as you can and don't let him get his head up like he does at Real Madrid," said the Ireland assistant yesterday.

"Don't give him space in behind because the boy can run. Tackle him. Hit him... fairly. Tackling is part of the bloody game.

"We've got good players who are up against him. They're clever, whether that's on the left or right, whoever he is up against. Stephen Ward is having a good season if he drifts out there. We've got Seamus Coleman on the right. If he's playing off the front, we've got two centre-backs and a couple of midfielders around him.

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

"The reason he's a world-class player is because they generally figure a way out to affect the game. He's done it on the world stage."

Ireland's hand has been further weakened by the confirmed loss of Daryl Murphy and James McCarthy is "very, very doubtful" after he was only able to participate in light jogging in training yesterday.

Read more: Injury woes worsen for Martin O'Neill after Daryl Murphy is ruled out of Wales clash

Coleman and Shane Long sat proceedings out as a precaution but they are expected to participate today with Keane denying that the loss of the creative Wes Hoolahan, Robbie Brady and Harry Arter will make avoiding defeat the priority.

Irish Independent

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