Ireland captain Robbie Keane a doubt for Germany
Striker carrying an ankle injury and will continue to rest before a decision is made on Friday
Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane a doubt for Germany game in Cologne. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Noel King will wait until Friday to decide whether to play Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane against Germany in Cologne.
The LA Galaxy striker picked up a knock on his ankle earlier in the week and was due to sit out training on Thursday evening, having also stayed on the sidelines during the final session in Dublin on Wednesday.
Unlike former Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, interim manager Noel King is not inclined to name his team a day early, but the presence of Damien Delaney in Keane’s stead during the pre-match press conference in the Rhein Energie Stadion this evening, suggested the Crystal Palace man will form part of his defence.
King has been forced to plan without the suspended Richard Dunne and John O’Shea and, though neither he, nor Delaney, gave much away this evening, all signs point tothe 32-year-old being one of those to profit in the absence of the experienced pair.
Keane’s coach at LA Galaxy Bruce Arena had asked King to release the forward before the final World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Dublin on Tuesday, but the Irishman refused yesterday, and he insisted this evening his stance on the issue has not changed.
“He has a bit of an ankle problem,” King said of Keane. “He’s not training tonight. It’s a bit of a precaution. We’ll make a decision on him tomorrow. He’s still got a chance but it’s a medical decision and we’ll see tonight.
“He’s healing, that’s the process. He’s being attended to. We’re hopeful that he’ll be alright for tomorrow. If he’s not then we hope that he’s okay for Tuesday; there’s no question of him going home. Robbie’s desperate to play.”
If he does miss out, “(Anthony) Stokes, (Kevin) Doyle and (Shane) Long are the three possibilities,” says King. “They’re regular goalscorers, maybe not as prolific as Robbie but they’re certainly goalscorers.
“Whether we have the same ability as the Germans doesn’t really matter. It’s what we do with the ability we have that matters.”
Despite Keane’s condition, King is happy with the week’s work he and his squad have done and confident they can put it to good use tomorrow night.
“We are aware of the Germans and the onslaught we may face early on or at any stage during in the game. We have to be fully prepared for the 93 or 94 minutes that we have to play ... I have confidence in the way we’re planning to play and I’m optimistic that we can do that.
He added: “The way the Germans play is phenomenal. What Bayern Munich have done is taken it on from barcelona and provided a new model for everyone to follow....a harder model.
For his part, Delaney is under no illusions as to what to expect, but hopes he’ll be better off for it.
“It’s going to be a tough night, we accept that” he said. “Last Saturday I faced what’s probably the best strike partnership (Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge) in the Premiership and I’m probably a better player now than I was before that game. I try to take something from every game and f I do start tomorrow I’d hope to be a better player after this one too.”