Friday 25 May 2018

Final call for Robbie Keane? Martin O'Neill to name Oman squad

Robbie Keane Picture: PA
Robbie Keane Picture: PA
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Robbie Keane is set to be named in Martin O'Neill's squad for next week's friendly with Oman but it could be for the last time.

Ireland's record goalscorer has yet to confirm his final decision on his international future after Shay Given opted to call it quits and John O'Shea chose to stay on.

However, it is anticipated that the Dublin friendly with Oman will be his final match in the green shirt. An announcement from the LA Galaxy attacker confirming his intentions is expected this week.

O'Neill's panel for the Oman game and the opening World Cup qualifier with Serbia on Monday week could be named today, with plans for a press conference tomorrow called off due to the funeral of FAI board member Milo Corcoran.

Keane started O'Neill's tenure as first-choice striker but has gradually taken a role as a back-up option; the manager had spoken about this summer's European Championships as a swansong for the Dubliner. He made two sub appearances.

The Oman encounter would give Keane a chance to win his 146th cap and add to his impressive haul of 67 international goals.

As usual, O'Neill will name an enlarged squad that will be cut down after the weekend and some new faces should feature in the long list. Contenders include Wolves striker Joe Mason, Brentford forward Scott Hogan and his defensive colleague John Egan and Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane.

Injury doubt Seamus Coleman will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness.

Meanwhile, Alan Judge could be the next Irish player to join Rafa Benitez at Newcastle after he travelled to Tyneside for talks.

Judge is currently on the sidelines due to the horrific leg break he suffered in April which ended his dreams of featuring in the European Championships.

He is out of contract with Brentford at the end of the season and was expected to move to the Premier League during the summer until his setback.

The 27-year-old is on his way back to full fitness but could resume his career with a side that is favourites for an immediate return to the top flight.

Benitez signed Ciaran Clark from Aston Villa last month.

Irish Independent

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