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MLS schedule has given Keane 'freshess and vibrancy' - O'Neill

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Ireland captain Robbie Keane was left out of the starting XI for the Scotland defeat and Martin O'Neill faces a decision on whether he should restore the country's record goalscorer for Sunday's cruch Euro 2016 qualifier with Poland

Ireland captain Robbie Keane was left out of the starting XI for the Scotland defeat and Martin O'Neill faces a decision on whether he should restore the country's record goalscorer for Sunday's cruch Euro 2016 qualifier with Poland

SPORTSFILE

Ireland captain Robbie Keane was left out of the starting XI for the Scotland defeat and Martin O'Neill faces a decision on whether he should restore the country's record goalscorer for Sunday's cruch Euro 2016 qualifier with Poland

Martin O'Neill has indicated that skipper Robbie Keane could be a better option now than he was for November's loss in Scotland because he's only at the start of his club season.

The Ireland skipper was left out of the starting XI for the Celtic Park defeat and O'Neill faces a decision on whether he should restore the country's record goalscorer for Sunday's crunch Euro 2016 qualifier with Poland.

Keane is three weeks into his new club season with LA Galaxy and scored against Houston on Saturday.

His international boss feels that it's an advantage to have the 34-year-old at this stage of his campaign as opposed to the tail end of it - which was the case for the Scottish joust.

"The season has just started and I'm hoping that freshness and that vibrancy he will possess at this time will carry him through. I take the positive," said O'Neill, who went on to praise the poacher's continued enthusiasm for his job.

"I don't think you can do anything in this game without enthusiasm. That enthusiasm carries you a long way.

"You hear Alex Ferguson talking about it - the enthusiasm to get up, do it again, and do it for as long as you possibly can.

"I might remind him, as someone who's many years his senior, to stay with it and play as long as you can because you're a long time - I won't use the word (smiles) - you're a long time out of it after that.

"I have lots of decisions to make this week," O'Neill continued, when pressed once more on Keane's possible role against the Poles.

Speaking generally, O'Neill does not feel that a hangover from Scotland will have an impact on the Sunday, referencing the gap between the fixtures and also the importance of the subsequent friendly dismissal of the USA.

There are lessons from the experience that he wants to bring into his preparatory work, though.

"Naturally you have to pick up some things from Scotland," he asserted.

"We're sitting there 75 minutes into a game (at 0-0) so whatever you do, don't lose the match. It took us ages to go out and close the corner down.

"When you've got that far away from home, make sure that you come out with something.

"It would be wise for us to look at some of the things in Scotland and try and improve on it."

Irish Independent