IRELAND CAPTAIN ROBBIE Keane has played down talk of unrest in the Irish squad ahead of tomorrow’s qualifier.
The LA Galaxy striker, who has been declared fit and will start alongside Jon Walters against the Faroe Islands, was responding to questions about a reported bust-up between defender Stephen Kelly and assistant manager Marco Tardelli.
He explained disagreements over team selection is the norm in football and that, during a career that has brought him to the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool, Wolves and Inter Milan, he has encountered them on a weekly basis.
“There’s always going to be rifts in the camp. When players aren’t playing they are going to be disappointed. It’s normal, it’s natural. Every week in club football it happens. Last week before I left at LA Galaxy, it happened. When I was at Tottenham it happened.”
The 32-year-old backed Giovanni Trapattoni to remain as Ireland boss and has called on for big response from the players after the humiliation of Friday’s defeat to Germany.
“Like everybody in the whole country – all the lads, everyone is disappointed with the result. We’re certainly embarrassed. We’ve had a good record.
“The good thing about football is that there’s always another game. We accept criticism and know there will be some. We’ll do our best and hope to get a result and rectify it.
“We owe everybody. I don’t need to tell you the job he (Trap) has done for the country. We have to stick together. Our main priority is Sweden and Austria.
“We need a massive reaction. When you lose in the manner that we did on Friday we have. We’re playing in this game as favourites but it’s easier said then done. All the players, playing and on the bench.
After the game the senior players have to say something and try to rally the players. Myself, John O’Shea and Keith Andrews have been trying to rally the troops.”
Keane has shaken off an Achilles probable and makes the starting XI after missing out against Germany. On his recovery, he added: “I trained yesterday with the lads for the first time. I felt okay. When you’ve got an Achilles problem it’s not 100%.
“The doctors have been great. When you play on plastic pitches, which I don’t think should be allowed in this day and age, but hopefully it will hold up.”
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