Wednesday 19 June 2019

Keane urges Irish stars to follow Coleman commitment

Republic of Ireland skipper Seamus Coleman is recovering from a double leg fracture
Republic of Ireland skipper Seamus Coleman is recovering from a double leg fracture

Roy Keane has told the Republic of Ireland to put their bodies on the line just as Seamus Coleman did if they are to achieve their World Cup dream.

Everton full-back Coleman met up with the Ireland squad on Thursday as he continues his recovery from the horrific double leg fracture he suffered during the 0-0 qualifying draw with Wales in March.

The Republic skipper is unlikely to play any further part in the campaign as a result of his injury and is relying on his team-mates to book him a trip to Russia next summer in his absence.

However, assistant manager Keane has warned the players they have to be prepared to do the same as Coleman if they are to get the result they want from their Group D showdown with Austria at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Keane said: "You want players playing on the edge, we want players putting their bodies on the line, which lads have done before, people like Seamus Coleman.

"You go out on that pitch and you put your bodies on the line and be ready to accept whatever goes on, whether it be like Seamus, breaking your leg...

"People have done a lot more for their country than breaking their legs - people have died for their country - so we want people to put their bodies on the line, give everything they have got.

"I suppose my mindset anyway with any group of players I'm working with is, 'We're going into battle on Sunday and be ready, be ready to put your body on the line like Seamus did. You have got to follow that'."

Coleman watched training at Abbotstown on Friday morning with his rehabilitation well under way, and Keane revealed he is progressing well.

He said: "He seems fine. He was in good spirits last night and his recovery is going well. Seamus has got an injury, but he will get over it, like lots of other players.

"Nobody died. He broke his leg and that will heal. He's in good hands with Everton and I'm led to believe the surgeons are really happy with how it's gone, so that's good news.

"It is nice to have him around the place and hopefully he will bring some positive energy to the group. He's here for a few days and the game. It's a pity he's not able to play, but whoever starts at right-back won't let us down."

That is likely to be Derby's Cyrus Christie, but manager Martin O'Neill has decisions to make elsewhere with goalkeeper Darren Randolph under pressure from Keiren Westwood and Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh and John O'Shea battling it out for the two central defensive berths.

However, Keane said: "Don't lose sleep about the manager having to make tough decisions. That's the name of the game."

O'Neill has at least had one problem solved with striker Jonathan Walters, who captained the team against Uruguay on Sunday, having returned to training after a knee problem with Shane Long and David McGoldrick already ruled out by injury.

But Keane has brushed aside talk of players who will not be involved on Sunday - Austria boss Marcel Koller could be without six of the men who started the 1-0 defeat to Ireland in Vienna in November, while full-back Andreas Ulmer will be missing because he is getting married.

He said: "Don't worry or waste your time talking about players who aren't here. We'll focus on the players who are here, who are available, and it will be the same for the opposition.

"I've no interest in the players who aren't here."

Press Association

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