ROBBIE KEANE has given his strongest indication yet that he will be ready to lead out Giovanni Trapattoni’s Boys in Green against Estonia next Friday.
Keane’s LA Galaxy take a 1-0 lead into tonight’s Western Conference semi-final second leg against Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls and the striker said that he expects to start again, promising that he is not far from his goal-hungry best.
Keane sat out Ireland’s final Euro 2012 qualifier with an adductor strain but managed to shake the injury in time to play 83 minutes of the first leg in New York last weekend.
“It was nice to get back playing again,” the Tallaght man said after he made it through yesterday’s training session in one piece.
I think I could have carried on to play 90 on Sunday. I feel good, I feel sharp… and I’m sure I’ll be a lot sharper tomorrow.
Keane’s self-assessment will be music to the ears of Trapattoni who said at last Friday’s squad announcement that although he expected his main man to be fit, he would leave the final decision up to the player.
With Kevin Doyle suspended for next week’s play-off first leg in Talinn and Shane Long losing his race against time with every passing day, a fully-fit Keane would be a timely blessing for Trap whose future as Irish manager looks to hinge on qualification for next summer’s championships.
Keane’s optimism about his fitness was shared by David Beckham who paid tribute to his clubmate’s determination yesterday.
“He looked sharp,” Beckham said. “He’d had a rest and obviously had been working on his fitness throughout when he was injured.”
It’s good because Robbie did feel that he didn’t have a chance of making the playoffs and all of the sudden he’s back training, working hard and back in the team and playing.