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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020

Keane remains the major doubt as King holds off on team announcement

The interim boss won’t name his starting line-up until he absolutely has to.

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

INTERIM IRELAND MANAGER Noel King will give Robbie Keane every chance to prove his fitness for tomorrow’s World Cup qualifying encounter away to Germany.

An ankle knock prevented the captain training in Cologne today and King will wait to see how Ireland’s record goalscorer feels in the morning before making a definite decision on his fitness.

“Still has a chance,” King said of Keane at this evening’s press conference,”it’s really a medical question at the minute, it’s best to leave him off and see how he goes tomorrow morning.

King’s decision to avoid naming his starting 11 until it was necessary is contrary to the methods employed by his predecessor Giovanni Trapattoni.

The Italian would bullishly announce his starting line-up sometimes 24 to 30 hours before kick-off, but King was equally forthright in his insistence on avoiding the team-sheet.

“I have a fair idea [of the starting XI],” says King. “I probably have about 10 right, I’m just working with one in my own mind. And then with Robbie’s situation, we have to see how to handle that as well.

“I don’t have to name it now, so why should I? It’s an extra day for us, a bit more knowledge with tonight’s session and then we’ll see.”

He added: “Robbie’s been one of our leading lights over the years, he’s one of the leading scorers in Europe. If he doesn’t make it nobody will be happy, that’s for sure, but you get on with it.

“The person who comes in will be delighted with the opportunity and delighted to be capped.”

Should Keane’s ankle fail to improve King says he will pick from Kevin Doyle, Shane Long or Jonathan Walters, but remained tight-lipped on his plans for the formation as well as the personnel.

“I’m not going to get hung up on formations. it’s about players and the area they play in. You’re very often dictated to by the opposition, which will probably be the case tomorrow.

“We have been preparing properly, I’m hoping the plan will come together tomorrow night.”

Catch up with more from the Ireland camp in Germany with 98FM

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Sean Farrell

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