Sport Soccer

Sunday 19 November 2017

Sweden may feel impact of Keane's winter plans

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

ROBBIE KEANE is considering a move back to England this winter and has discussed the possibility with Giovanni Trapattoni.

The Ireland skipper spoke with Trapattoni after last month's win over the Faroes, with the Italian telling the Tallaght man to do what is best for his family.

It's believed that Aston Villa would like to bring the 32-year-old to Birmingham again following his successful cameo last winter during LA Galaxy's lengthy off-season.

Keane's brace for LA last weekend has put them in a strong position to qualify for the MLS Cup final and retain the title. However, once his season ends at the start of December, he will have to decide how to spend his winter; he will be eligible to join a Premier League club on loan from January 1.

"He spoke with me about this situation after the Faroes," said Trapattoni. "I said, 'okay, you stay (in America) for the friendly with Greece. And he said that he has the opportunity to see what he will do (over the winter period).

"I said, 'you have to make your mind up on it, you have to decide for you. It should be well.' He will not stay three months without football but he has a tournament in Malaysia (with Galaxy). Usually, he would go there. But, you know, he has family. I don't think he has decided what to do yet. Maybe he will decide, I will ask him."

The Irish boss is delighted with the level of Keane's performances for his club, responding simply with "two goals a game" when his name was mentioned yesterday. He reminded the audience not to forget the country's record goalscorer in the course of discussions about the possible team for the Sweden trip in March.

It's safe to assume that Keane will start, injury permitting, and therefore his fitness coming into the game is the manager's concern. With the MLS campaign resuming at the beginning of March, he would be only getting into stride by the time the double header with the Swedes and Austria comes around – March 22 and 26 – if he stayed with Galaxy in the off-season.

Nevertheless, Trapattoni did point out that fatigue could be an issue for some players in Europe at that juncture, referencing the Swedish players who are involved in the Champions League and might be coping with the impact of a hectic campaign. In that context, a fresh Keane could be an advantage.

Irish Independent

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