Wednesday 22 November 2017

Euro 2012: In the line of fire, but Trapattoni insists Keane is safe as Doyle faces axe

Robbie Keane
walks among his
team-mates at
training yesterday
in Gdynia
Robbie Keane walks among his team-mates at training yesterday in Gdynia
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has hinted he may change his forward options for Thursday's crunch Euro 2012 tie with Spain, but insists skipper Robbie Keane will not be axed.

It means that Kevin Doyle is set to be the fall guy, despite a decent showing in the defeat to Croatia, as the Ireland boss prepares to introduce Jonathan Walters to his starting XI for the clash with the world and European champions.

The 73-year-old is yet to confirm his intentions, but indicated a slight change to his team for the Spanish encounter, which would involve the addition of a striker with real midfield expertise. He gave Walters a strong mention.

His captain, Keane, has often supported the midfield, and he disappointed in Sunday's 3-1 loss. But Trapattoni defended his decision to keep the Tallaght man on the pitch for 75 minutes, and said he will start against the Spaniards because of his superior composure to the other options.

"Robbie is not only our captain. He is very experienced," said Trapattoni. "He has the possibility to give us a little time (on the ball) to think about what to do.

"It's important when he is here, and it's my duty to show he is still needed. He remains a very important option. He gives us time."

So, with Keane likely to be deployed as the most advanced performer in Gdansk, Stoke City man Walters could benefit.

"Maybe I can make one change after reflection," Trapattoni said. "Not because of anyone's performance on Sunday. But, for a technical reason. We need not to have two strikers. We can adapt with the players we have.

"Remember Andy Keogh against Italy, against (Andrea) Pirlo, last June? He helped us in midfield.

"Maybe, Jonathan has showed us that he can help in this situation, with his strength. That is one idea. We also have another player, like Simon Cox, who can do two jobs. These are the opportunities."

The full Ireland squad will train in Gdynia this morning after a light session yesterday which only involved stretching for the majority of the manager's first-choice performers. Richard Dunne and Darron Gibson sat out proceedings with minor complaints.

Irish Independent

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