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Robbie keen to build on Wembley heroics

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England's Wayne Rooney and Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman battle for the ball at Wembley Stadium. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.

England's Wayne Rooney and Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman battle for the ball at Wembley Stadium. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.

England's Wayne Rooney and Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman battle for the ball at Wembley Stadium. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.

ROBBIE KEANE wants Ireland to build on last night's draw against England at Wembley – and then go out with a swagger in the next game that really counts, the World Cup qualifier at home to the Faroe Islands on Friday week.

Keane didn't score, the Irish captain leaving that responsibility to his strike partner Shane Long.

But there's no doubting that the night was a big deal for Keane, who stood up to his American club when they initially refused him permission to report for the game and insisted on his right to lead Ireland out at Wembley, and was clearly pleased with the night's work.

Just like the last team from Ireland to play in London – Shamrock Rovers away to Spurs in the Europa League – the Irish side shocked the home support by taking the lead, though it didn't last long.

But Ireland still came out with what Roy Keane would call a "positive result", on a night when Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy came of age in international football. The Faroes next week will be a different prospect, Robbie Keane admitting that it was hard last night to keep track of classy midfielders like Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard.

"It was a good performance last night. If you look at it possession-wise, they had more than we did. They keep the ball and get 10-to-12 passes together while we get three or four.

"But playing against these teams you have to set out your stall, let them know your strengths and their weaknesses, get in their faces," said Keane.

"If you are playing against the Faroe Islands maybe you can get the ball down and pass it, get that 10-to-12 passes going, but against a team like England it's hard to do.

"Once we show the desire and work ethic that we have in the squad, which we did last night, we can get a result against a very good England team," added Keane, aware that goalscorer Long is suspended for the World Cup match.

"We can be okay for the Faroes game without Shane, we have other players who can come in. The Faroes is a game where we can let loose a bit. On paper we should go out and maybe go for it a bit more, bring other players in who are more attack-minded."

It was an attacking ball from the impressive Coleman which set up the lead goal, which reminded Keane of moments from the past in the shape of Niall Quinn.

"It was a great ball in from Seamus and a great leap by Longy, it was like Quinny, back in the day," Keane joked.

"That set out our stall for us. We were disappointed to concede the goal after that but on reflection, 1-1 was a good result for everybody.

"Shane is strong, he wins headers and in a game like last night he was feeding off scraps, it wasn't like we got the ball down on the ground and created chances.

"We linked up well and when we play a team like the Faroes, where we get more of the ball, we can get the ball down and pass it more.

"But David Forde made three great saves and they had more chances than we did, no question about that. But David was brilliant, not just his saves but the way he came for corners, collected the ball and when you have a keeper like that it breeds confidence.

"And full credit to the Irish fans, they were superb, they came out in numbers like they always do.

"We had 11,000 Irish fans but the way they behaved themselves and sang was a credit to them. You could easily have had a few people come over here for the wrong reasons but they all behaved themselves, and credit to both sets of fans.

"It was great to be in front, just a pity we didn't keep the lead for a bit longer. But 1-1 was a good result for everyone."

Last night at Wembley was a case of reunions and old pals meeting up – a photo of Wayne Rooney and his ex-Manchester United team-mate Robbie Brady hugging in the tunnel appeared on Twitter, and Keane was seen embracing old Spurs pal Jermain Defoe.

But it was another old buddy from Keane's Spurs days, Michael Carrick, who impressed the Ireland captain, who was tasked with the responsibility of dropping back to track the midfielder.

"Not just Michael – I was looking at Carrick and Lampard so that's not a good job to be doing," Keane added.

"I am looking forward to playing the Faroe Islands where we might have a bit more possession of the ball and keep the ball, instead of doing a lot of doggies," Keane smiled.

 

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"Michael Carrick is a good friend of mine. I said it years ago but to me he is one of the best midfielders I have played against, he sees the pass very quickly, and when you can do that you create so much space for other players. It can take three, four or five players out of the game and you saw that last night.

"The understanding that he had, he didn't need four or five touches.

"He has been one of the most under-rated players in England for such a long time and I can never understand why he doesn't get picked for their national team on a more regular basis."


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