Monday 22 January 2018

Keane confident Ireland can reach play-offs

Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane

Daniel McDonnell in New York

ROBBIE KEANE believes that Ireland's summer games have demonstrated they are ready to take September by storm and book a place in a play-off for the 2014 World Cup.

The Ireland captain (above) was enthused by the performance from a depleted side in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to world champions Spain and feels that the four games in this gathering have shown that this group are in good health. He feels that Giovanni Trapattoni's side have to take six points from the meetings with second-place rivals Sweden and Austria in the autumn.

"We have to win the next two games, both of them," said the 32-year-old. "And we're well capable of it. We can take a lot of positives from this game and from the last four games.

"Obviously the main result went well (Faroes) but before that, the way the lads stuck together and bonded, it's been good. I think we can dismiss the Spain result a little because it was against the best team in the world. We couldn't string a pass together at times because we couldn't get the ball off them."

Keane had spoken before the game about his high hopes for Derby youngster Jeff Hendrick and defended his contribution after he was taken off at half-time.

Hendrick admitted to Trapattoni he found it difficult, but Keane says he has no reason to be troubled by his contribution. And he also praised the display of his replacement, Stephen Quinn.

Irish Independent

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