GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has warned Robbie Keane that he could lose his place in the Ireland team if he doesn't find a new club before the close of the transfer window.
The Ireland manager says he will consider other options for March's Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia if his skipper stays at Spurs and is short of match practice.
He indicated that he expects the 30-year-old to move clubs in the next seven days and added that he told the Dubliner that a move to Major League Soccer in America or a step down to the Championship would be preferable to his current situation.
Keane is the subject of interest from a host of Premier League clubs but has denied that personal demands ruled him out of a switch to Birmingham City.
Trapattoni acknowledged it would be a big move to drop his captain, but he cannot afford to enter important games with a ring-rusty front man.
"I have said it is important to him that he goes and plays," said Trapattoni. "If he stays two months on the bench without a game, we have also (Kevin) Doyle, we have (Shane) Long. Anthony Stokes and Leon Best score goals.
"We have this situation, but I hope he tries a new team. If Robbie does not find a new team, we can try other options after.
"I spoke with him, when he could go to America (he was linked to Canadian-based MLS side, Vancouver Whitecaps), and I said, 'you go.' He said to me also, 'Maybe I go to Birmingham, the first I go to is Aston Villa.'
"We need him to play games. We have options but it's important that we do not put too much pressure on the shoulders of young players. That is dangerous."
Trapattoni was in Dublin to name his 29-man squad for the February 8 clash with Wales which kicks off the new Carling Nations Cup. He intends to start Keane in that game with a view to improving his confidence.
The 71-year-old also stated that he felt "101pc" after his recent carotid surgery and apologised that people in Ireland learned of his health issues second hand from reports in the Italian media.
However, Trapattoni confirmed that he had told FAI chief executive John Delaney beforehand.