Wednesday 18 October 2017

Keane 'the best for 30 years'

Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal, his 57th international goal.
Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal, his 57th international goal.
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

iRISH manager Giovani Trapattoni hailed Robbie Keane as the country's best player of the last 30 years after his hat-trick secured a comfortable victory over the Faroe Islands.

Keane became Ireland's record caps holder by making his 126th appearance and was the only home player to hit the target on a night where Ireland failed to make great headway in the goal difference department.

Austria's win over Sweden means the three candidates for a play-off spot in Group C are likely to go into September level on points, with Ireland bottom of the three on the basis of their differential, with the Scandinavians hosting the Faroes next week. Trapattoni believes the race to Brazil is wide open, but the glory last night belonged to Keane.

"I wish to congratulate our captain. For me, he is the best Irish player I've known in the last 30 years," said Trapattoni. "And, for me, he is still one of the top strikers in Europe."

Ireland travel to New York today ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Spain at Yankee Stadium.

Trapattoni will finalise his travelling party this morning, with Wes Hoolahan a doubt with a tight hamstring. Hoolahan, who was central to Keane's first two goals, came in for warm praise from Trapattoni who acknowledged he had overlooked the Norwich player for too long.

Aiden McGeady misses the trip on account of his upcoming wedding, with Shane Long unavailable for the same reason. Trapattoni indicated last night that James McCarthy and John O'Shea would be making the journey, and Keane confirmed his participation.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport