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Robbie handed a timely boost

FINALLY, Robbie Keane has caught a break. The news that Jermain Defoe will be out for the next six weeks will be music to the ears of Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni and his skipper.

Defoe lasted just 70 minutes of England's 3-1 win against Switzerland on Tuesday after hitting the heights with a hat-trick against Bulgaria and a subsequent scan has confirmed that he will be out for a significant period because of an ankle injury.

Leaving Dublin after back-to-back Euro 2012 wins over Armenia and Andorra, Keane was none the wiser about where or when he would play again for Spurs, circumstances shared by many other Irish squad members at their clubs.

But with Defoe in dry dock for the next three Champions League fixtures as well as Premier League action, Keane should get a chance to bring himself up to full match fitness before the visit of Russia next month.

Trapattoni is clearly worried by the troubled club circumstances of several of his big names and the fact that very little was resolved before the end of the transfer window.

"I hope they can play more time, for example Robbie Keane and the midfield players. As far as competitiveness is concerned, I don't worry because they have the right mentality for the game.

"But maybe Robbie doesn't have 90 minutes in him. I have to think about one hour and then change, but I have to pick Robbie Keane. He is the best player for me," said Trapattoni.