King: Dream Team have clout to spur Ireland recruitment drive
Published 12/11/2013 | 01:00
NOEL KING believes that the appointment of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane will give Ireland the edge when it comes to recruiting players who are mulling over their international futures.
The Ireland U-21 boss, who took caretaker charge in the aftermath of Giovanni Trapattoni's departure, feels that the profile and personality of O'Neill and Keane will help the FAI fend off competition to secure players who qualify through their ancestry.
King, who met with O'Neill yesterday, is on the trail of several players, primarily Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford, and hopes the new managerial duo can help the process.
"If one of those two men pick up the phone and say they want you to be part of their plans as a young man, I think that would be huge for us," said King.
"If they can bring that authority and that presence it would be great."
O'Neill and Keane met with the players they have inherited last night ahead of this morning's opening training session in Malahide. Earlier in the day, they toured the Aviva Stadium, with the Corkman having a look at the facilities, which have changed dramatically since he played at the old Lansdowne Road.
Anthony Pilkington is the only fresh injury concern for the double header with Latvia and Poland after he sustained a dead leg in Norwich's Premier League clash with West Ham on Saturday. He will stay with his employers for treatment and may link up with the Ireland squad later in the week.
Robbie Keane expects to figure but appears to have ruled out a loan move to the Premier League this winter after stressing that he needs recuperation time to shake off a series of injury problems that have dogged him this year. LA Galaxy's season is over after their dreams of retaining the MLS Championship were ended by Real Salt Lake last Thursday.
"I have a few problems like my (left) Achilles, which needs to be looked at fairly quick, and hopefully we can solve that situation," said Keane.
"It's been bothering me for a long time and this may be an opportunity for me maybe to get it done or whatever the medics see is the best thing to do.
"For me, it'll be nice to have an extended break, but not too long. We'll have the two friendlies in Ireland and I expect to play them and then get a few little niggles sorted."