Sport Soccer

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Keane's Brazil dash

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

ROBBIE KEANE made a frantic late dash to London last night to answer Giovanni Trapattoni's call for this evening's friendly match with Brazil at the Emirates Stadium.

The Irish skipper, on-loan at Celtic, had been ruled out of the game by his temporary employers after Sunday's Old Firm loss to Rangers due to a knee problem.

However, further to a medical review, the Dubliner was freed by Celtic to link up with the Irish squad for the clash with the five-times world champions.

Trapattoni had earlier lost the experience of Richard Dunne from the spine of his team and had already named his starting XI, with Leon Best as the partner for Kevin Doyle.

Keane will definitely play a part in the game, although his participation from the outset has yet to be confirmed. As captain, it is likely that he will unship Best. It offers an opportunity for the 29-year-old to remind the wider football public of his abilities after disappearing off the radar somewhat since his loan move from Spurs to Celtic until the end of the season.

Barring a dramatic change in circumstances, he is likely to be on the lookout for a permanent home in the summer, so this offers an opportunity to impress potential suitors.

Trapattoni also believes that Doyle is capable of a switch at the end of the season, expressing the opinion that the Wexford man has the ability to play for a bigger club than Wolves.

"I hope the famous teams, the important teams, are conscious of his presence. I hope they look for him," said Trapattoni. "He is intelligent, he scores a goal and works for the team. He has grown a lot because he plays against the very important defenders and he is clever. I think he can wait for the famous team."

Match organisers Kentaro face an anxious wait to see if they can secure a full house for the fixture. They expected a big response from the Brazilian and Irish communities in London, but ticket sales are only approaching the 40,000 mark for a stadium that holds in excess of 60,000. However, a significant walk-up attendance is anticipated.

Irish Independent

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