Robbie Keane could play a significant role in the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 campaign, even if he does not make it into the 23-man squad
Manager Martin O’Neill said that the LA Galaxy striker, who is currently studying for his coaching badges, may come due to his presence and support to the players around him.
“I think Robbie would be thinking he would want to try to make the 23 first and foremost, and then we will see how things develop after that,” he said.
“But he has been very influential in the group, he’s been very supportive the whole time he has been here and even when he hasn’t started in matches, he’s still with the team, so, yes, that is a thought, I must admit.”
The 35-year-old, who is Ireland’s highest ever goalscorer, with 67 in 143 games, missed the friendlies against Slovakia and Switzerland with a knee injury.
The natural progression for the Dubliner would be to move on to coaching, and he has previously expressed his desire to work as part of the Ireland set-up. O’Neill also caused a stir, with his much publicised comments on the presence of wives and girlfriends at the tournament. The manager joked players’ wives and girlfriends could only attend if they were ‘really attractive’.
“It depends on how good-looking the girls are. If they’re really attractive, they’re very, very welcome. The uglier ones I’m afraid not,” he said. The National Women’s Council of Ireland criticised the remarks.
“There is no place for sexist comments of this nature in Irish football, particularly at this level,” director Orla O’Connor said.
“Interest and participation in soccer among girls and young women is growing in Ireland, and the Euros should be used as an opportunity to increase these participation levels, not for comments such as these.”