Dunne fit to resume training

Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 00:00

Soccer:Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne is poised to return to training later this week after undergoing three operations this season. The Republic of Ireland international centre back, who is out of contract at Villa this summer, has been sidelined all season by groin and hip problems.

Villa have sorely missed his experience at the heart of their defence, particularly during the absence of captain Ron Vlaar with a calf problem.

It has been a nightmare 12 months for 33-year-old who was also out injured for nearly three months with a shoulder problem before returning at the very end of last season. He played in all three Euro 2012 matches but the experience was not a happy one for the Dubliner as Ireland were soundly beaten by Croatia, Italy and Spain.

Villa boss Paul Lambert said: “If you look when Richard did his shoulder, he only came back for a couple of games and then had the groin problem at the Euros. He’s not played much football for a year really. But the (latest) operation in America was successful and the main thing for everyone is to get him back fit.”

Robbie Keane, meanwhile, will train with Tottenham for the next two weeks. The Ireland captain enjoyed two spells totalling eight years at White Hart Lane before moving to the Los Angeles Galaxy two years ago. The striker will train at Spurs’ Enfield base in a bid to maintain his fitness ahead of the return of the start of the MLS season in March.

Keane spent the last American off-season on loan at West Ham, but even though Spurs are down to only one striker as Emmanuel Adebayor is at the African Nations Cup, it is understood that manager Andre Villas-Boas has no plans to sign the 32-year-old on a temporary basis. Keane himself ruled out a loan move back to England two weeks ago, admitting he needed a rest following a tiring 2012 with the Galaxy and Ireland.

“It’s been a long season, with the Euros and what have you. I’ve a few little niggles that need to be sorted out so I don’t think at this moment in time it would be right for me to go anywhere,” he said at the time.

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