Robbie remains on song despite hitting the bar
Published 11/10/2011 | 05:00
GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has said he has no problem with Robbie Keane's appearance in a pub 48 hours before tonight's decisive Euro 2012 qualifier with Armenia.
The Ireland captain is out of the vital game with injury, although the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) refused to confirm his unavailability until yesterday. The LA Galaxy striker turned up at Gibney's in Malahide, north Dublin, on Sunday night and performed a Garth Brooks number on stage.
A clip of the singsong has since put up on YouTube.
Earlier on Sunday, Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli said Trapattoni was prepared to give Keane until the last minute to prove his fitness for the match.
However, Trapattoni yesterday admitted that it was a "lie" that was being used as a smokescreen to keep Armenia wondering if Ireland's record goalscorer had a chance of being involved.
The 72-year-old confirmed that Keane -- who is suffering from a gluteal muscle problem -- was released from the team base in Portmarnock on Sunday morning when it became clear he faces a minimum of two weeks on the sidelines.
Indeed, there is a danger that the 31-year-old could miss a probable European Championship playoff if Ireland avoid defeat at the Aviva Stadium this evening.
"Robbie was out on Sunday morning, and he was free to go home or with friends or in the pub," said Trapattoni. "It left our opponents with a doubt."
Should Ireland get the required result, then Keane will be engaged in a race against time to recuperate in time for the two matches that could decide his manager's future. A play-off would also have serious implications for the FAI who are mired in debt from their commitment to the Aviva Stadium.
Trapattoni has previously stated his bemusement at Irish pub culture.
"I reminded the players how important it is to grow our personality or professionalism because of two or three situations when the players were drinking or in the pub," he said in August.
"It is important for us, to me, and all the Irish people because we have to show them that we are a professional team with a good mentality."
However, the manager has no issue with his players unwinding after a game with a few beers, and was speaking in response to reports that curfews were broken during a run of international games at the beginning of the summer.