Sport

Monday 18 December 2017

Robbie Keane on Hoolahan

Robbie Keane is set to become the most-capped Irish player in history on Friday
Robbie Keane is set to become the most-capped Irish player in history on Friday

Robbie Keane has tipped Wes Hoolahan to put the Faroe Islands to the sword as Ireland attempt to bank three precious World Cup qualifying points.

Ireland, who drew with England last Wednesday and beat Georgia 4-0 on Sunday, meet the Group C minnows at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night with no margin for error as they attempt to keep alive their hopes of making it to the finals in Brazil next summer.

Keane, who scored twice on Sunday after climbing off the bench at half-time, has been hugely impressed by the 31-year-old Hoolahan during his time in the squad. He said: "He suits me perfectly because I like to get in the hole and Wes is one of these players who likes to get it and play it around corners and play little one-twos."

Keane added: "You saw that in the second half, the way we linked up, and that's something we have to look at against the Faroes because they are a team who are going to sit back and we are probably going to have a lot more possession of the ball, so it's a good weapon to have.

"He is very, very tidy and this game against the Faroes is a perfect game for him. It's a game where we have to go at them because on paper, we should win the game - but it's easy saying that. It could be the perfect game for him."

Hoolahan is set to get his chance on Friday because both central midfielder James McCarthy and striker Shane Long are suspended for Friday's game.

Ireland beat the Faroes 4-1 in Torshavn in October last year four days after their 6-1 mauling by Germany in Dublin - a result which very nearly cost Trapattoni his job. Since that dark night at the Aviva Stadium, Ireland have lost only one of the six games they have played, a run which includes solid away draws in Sweden and England.

However, that will count for little if they do not collect three points on Friday to maintain their challenge for second place in the group behind the Germans.

It will be yet another landmark occasion for Keane, who will break the Irish appearance record he currently shares with Shay Given when he wins his 126th senior international cap. He is also Ireland's record goalscorer, a mark he extended to 56 on Sunday night to match Argentina legend Gabriel Batistuta's haul.

However, the LA Galaxy striker is not a man who sets a great deal of store by personal milestones. He admitted: "I am not one of these to dwell on things too much. I think it will be one of those where I will look back in years to come and say I did okay for a Tallaght lad."

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