Ireland captain Robbie Keane trains fully
Noel King expected to have top-scorer available for visit of Kazakhstan on Tuesday
Noel King (left) hopes to have Robbie Keane back on the pitch on Tuesday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Noel King’s hopes of having skipper Robbie Keane available for the visit of Kazakhstan on Tuesday were heightened today when the LA Galaxy striker took a full part in training in Malahide.
The interim manager suggested beforehand the captain would rest the ankle injury that ruled him out of Friday’s 3-0 defeat to Germany, before resuming training tomorrow, but that wasn’t the case at Gannon Park this afternoon. Ireland’s record goalscorer completed a full session, while those who played in Cologne were afforded a light session.
Keane will win his 130th senior cap at the Aviva Stadium if he lines out on Tuesday. Celtic’s Anthony Stokes played the lone striker role at the Rhein Energie Stadium on Friday and on another night he could have emerged with at least two goals.
King’s resources have been further boosted by the arrival of defenders Richard Dunne and John O’Shea, who were suspended for the first half of the double-header.
“They are all good and looking forward to it,” King said. “It’s good to see them in and added to the squad. We will do a little bit of training (on Sunday) afternoon and we will see. There are a few tired legs, a few tired bodies, few tired minds, and there’s a few anxious and fit-as-a-fiddle minds as well, so it’s a combination of things we have to deal with.”
King insisted, despite the vast difference in the quality of opposition, that his Ireland side wasn’t going to be reckless in attack on Tuesday.
“All of you (media) will be telling me that we should be more attacking and if I wasn’t in this position then I’d be saying the same thing, but the reality is that you have to respect your opponent,” said the Dubliner. “We’ll look at them all in depth again on the video, we’ll look at the reports on them and we’ll set out a plan to get about it the best way we can.
“Obviously we like to attack as much as we can, but the nature of the game is that you have to defend and defend well in these games, if you don’t then you can end up with egg on your face.”
That said, King does expect to make at least one change that will reflect the fact Ireland are at home this week and likely to have more possession.
“I did say beforehand that there are two different games and I don’t want to go in at this early stage to the starting 11, but there’s likely to be change,” he said after being asked about Andy Reid’s ability to keep the ball in midfield.
“I wouldn’t say the performance (against Germany) was bad by any of the players, so the change won’t be enforced by bad performances ... for my book we were great, it was a great traditional battling Irish performance and with good football, so from my perspective going forward it won’t be from that point of view; changes might be from the perspective of being at home, maybe having more possession and maybe how we can handle that.”