Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ireland have no Plan B – Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne lead the Irish squad during training at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna yesterday
Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne lead the Irish squad during training at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna yesterday

Daniel McDonnell in Vienna

ROBBIE KEANE believes Ireland's system failure is a product of the FAI's long-term strategy rather than an issue with Giovanni Trapattoni's tactics.

The Italian is approaching the end of a tenure where his direct style of play has been criticised but Keane feels that Ireland need to change from the grassroots up before they can adopt a different brand of football.

Trapattoni's men will enter tonight's World Cup qualifier against Austria with the usual strategy knowing that a win would still leave them as long shots to make a play-off if Sweden win in Kazakhstan earlier in the day.

An animated Keane said in yesterday's pre-match press conference that the blame should be shared by everyone in the game.

"We talk about Plan A and Plan B and crap like that but Ireland has never had a Plan B before," said Ireland's record goalscorer. "We've always had a Plan A, it's a simple as that. Since I came into the squad, we've always played exactly the same way; it hasn't changed from the first minute I walked in that door and I don't think it's going to change for a while.

"We don't have the personnel like Spain to get the ball down and have 80pc of the possession against other teams. We're just not that team, we know our strengths and we stick to it.

"Unless it changes from grass roots, it's not going to change for a good few years. They keep talking in England about trying to change things and make the national team better and we need to do that as well."

While the 4-4-2 formation will be the same, Trapattoni has made two changes to the team that suffered the crushing reverse at home to Sweden on Friday, with the injured Glenn Whelan replaced by Paul Green and Anthony Pilkington preferred to James McClean.

Keane says that the camp is united ahead of what could prove to be Trapattoni's last meaningful game in the Irish hot seat.

"Everybody is proud to wear that jersey, whether that's doing it for the manager or doing it for your country or doing it for yourself, it doesn't really matter once we're all pulling in the right direction," said the 33-year-old.

"We always do it for the manager and players. We started together and we'll finish it together."

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