Robbie Keane fighting for his place in Ireland’s EURO 2016 squad
Robbie Keane has scored 67 goals in 143 appearances for his national team, both Republic of Ireland records.
However, the team’s captain is still fighting for his place in the EURO 2016 squad.
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Now at 35-years-old, the Los Angeles Galaxy striker is no longer the first name called when manager Martin O’Neill picks his Ireland side.
Southampton’s Shane Long and Stoke City’s Jon Walters have both moved ahead of Keane in the pecking order, with the Colorado Rapids’ Kevin Doyle also looking to cement his place in the side.
After flying from LA to Europe to meet up with the team over the international break, Keane missed Ireland’s first match and has been ruled out of their second with a knee injury.Despite being unable to play, Martin O’Neill has praised Keane’s work with the team off the pitch, and when asked if he would bring the veteran to France this summer even if he was not going to feature, O’Neill said he had not ruled it out.
I haven’t thought about that, I must admit, but I think Robbie would be thinking he would want to try to make the 23 first and foremost, and then we will see how things develop after that.
But he has been very influential in the group, he’s been very supportive the whole time he has been here and even when he hasn’t started in matches, he’s still with the team, so, yes, that is a thought, I must admit.
Keane has had an historic Ireland career, leading the team in scoring in their last World Cup appearance in 2002 while captaining the side at EURO 2012. Keane is one of two players still in the Ireland setup from that 2002 World Cup team, along with goalkeeper Shay Given.
While Keane is not the player he was five or six years ago, he is still scoring goals for the Galaxy and has been the face of Irish football for more than a decade now. He won’t be able to go 90 minutes, but if Ireland was down a goal with 20 to play, he could still contribute off the bench.
With or without Keane, Ireland faces an uphill battle in June, drawn in an extremely tough group with Belgium, Italy, and Sweden.