Keane sits out Ireland training
Soccer:Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane sat out training this morning as he nursed an Achilles injury, but assistant manager Marco Tardelli insisted he is not a doubt for Friday night’s World Cup qualifier against Germany.
The LA Galaxy frontman picked up the knock in a training ground collision with defender Paul McShane yesterday, but is expected to be fit for the Group C encounter at the Aviva Stadium in which manager Giovanni Trapattoni has hinted he will play as a lone striker.
"It's no problem. For Robbie, it's just a knock,” said Tardelli today. “Yesterday in training, Paul McShane was very hard. Robbie decided to stay and rest because it is better. He needs to recover also after his trip."
Midfielder Keith Andrews sat out the latter part of the session, but Tardelli confirmed he does not have an injury, while keeper Keiren Westwood, who was missing yesterday, was back on the training pitch.
"For Andrews, it's just rest,” said the Italian. “He did the first part of training, the tactical part of training, and then afterwards asked us if it was possible to stay on the bench. It's no problem."
Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford, who was drafted into the squad last night, worked with his team-mates for the first time as Trapattoni drilled his players ahead of a difficult game.Andy Keogh insists the pressure will be on Germany on Friday, as they attempt to maintain a perfect start to their campaign. Joachim Loew's men will looking for a third successive victory, but the 26-year-old is confident Ireland can make life uncomfortable for the side expected to win the group at a canter.
"The pressure is on them to come and win, they are the ones everyone thinks are going to win the group," he said. "We have just got to go out, be disciplined, keep our shape, try to keep a clean sheet and just go from there.
"Germany are obviously going to be favourites to win the group and everyone will be saying the rest of us are battling it out for second place.
"But if we can get points from Germany, it would be a big plus towards qualifying for the World Cup. We just have to make sure we have got everything in our camp sorted and we know what we are doing and we apply on the pitch what the manager wants us to do, and we go from there.
"It's up to them to come and break us down and to beat us."
Trapattoni's men collected three points from their only qualifier to date, although their 2-1 victory in Kazakhstan last month was anything but convincing.
This time around, the Italian is having to deal with an injury crisis which has deprived him of the services of five members of what would represent his strongest squad, with Richard Dunne, Seán St Ledger, Glenn Whelan, James McClean and Kevin Doyle all unavailable through injury.
That has prompted something of a reshuffle in recent days with the manager trying to fill a gap at right-back - Stephen Kelly, Paul McShane and Seamus Coleman are the candidates - and almost certain to play three central midfielders behind a lone striker.
Keane is favourite for that role, but there are places up for grabs behind him and Keogh, who is a striker by trade but has played most of his senior international football as a wide man, is ready to step in if called upon.
"I have played most of my games on the wing for Ireland. I think I am one of those players who can play wing or striker, but I do like to play up the middle and be the one to score the goals. But sometimes you have to do what the manager asks. Different managers see different players in different ways, it's just the way football is.
"If the manager decides to play me, I will be really happy and if not, one of the other lads will be really happy and they will get the chance to shine as well."