Sunday 17 December 2017

Robbie Keane likely to be fit to face Faroes

Damian Spellman

ROBBIE KEANE could return to lead the fight to save Giovanni Trapattoni's job as Ireland attempt to bounce back from their mauling by Germany.

Keane, who missed Friday night's 6-1 Aviva Stadium horror show with an Achilles injury, was aboard the plane which left Dublin for Torshavn yesterday ahead of tomorrow night's must-win clash with Group C minnows the Faroe Islands.

The Los Angeles Galaxy striker, who scored his 54th senior international goal in the unconvincing 2-1 opening qualifier victory in Kazakhstan last month, might spare Trapattoni further punishment if he can lead his side to victory amid the growing tide of criticism which headed his way over the weekend.

An FAI spokesman said: "Following training this morning (Sunday) in Gannon Park, Robbie Keane has been ruled fit to travel with the squad for Tuesday's match against the Faroe Islands."

Trapattoni has indicated he will make changes in the wake of Friday night's debacle, which was Ireland’s heaviest ever defeat on home soil.

However, frontman Andy Keogh, who scored his side's consolation goal after coming on as a substitute, will not be one of the beneficiaries after being ruled out of the trip with concussion.

The FAI spokesman added: "Andy Keogh suffered a knock to the head in training on Saturday. He was observed overnight by the FAI medical team and has been ruled unfit to travel to the Faroe Islands this afternoon (Sunday) due to mild concussion."

Keane will win his 122nd cap if he is recalled and restore some of the experience to a side which sadly lacked that against the Germans.

Full-back Seamus Coleman and midfielder James McCarthy were each winning just a seventh cap on Friday evening, while substitute Robbie Brady, whose corner led to Keogh's strike, was appearing for only the second time.

While Trapattoni had little choice but to accept the paucity of his side's performance, he was able to take solace from past results - admittedly, increasingly distant ones - and the emergence of a new generation of players.

And for that reason, he insists he was not angry about what he saw on a dreadful evening in Dublin.

Indeed, he appears happy to write off the German debacle as little more than a bad day at the office rather than, as his critics claim, the inevitable end-result of his flawed approach.

He said: "Maybe in my life I have lost only one time 6-1 - it was a derby in Milan. But there are games where everything goes wrong. It's possible.

"Germany were superior and after they took the lead, they could play easily and with energy. This can happen. I was a player and it can happen.

"When you fail, it is no good being angry. You have to accept Germany were superior.

"I can't be angry with my players. I have to re-charge the batteries because we need their enthusiasm and their energy for the next game on Tuesday."

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