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Dublin: 9°C Monday 12 April 2021

Robbie could be left on the bench v Scotland - but Roy insists he wasn't 'dropped' in Glasgow

Ireland’s record goalscorer is struggling for match fitness ahead of crunch Euro clash.

Roy on Robbie:
Roy on Robbie: "He's lacking match fitness."
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

ROBBIE KEANE IS not guaranteed to start against Scotland, with Roy Keane admitting the striker’s involvement is one of many “calculated decisions” the management still face.

Ireland’s record goalscorer has been struggling with a groin injury but played 90 minutes for LA Galaxy last weekend.

That was his first club start in four weeks but there are still question marks over his fitness for Saturday’s crunch Euro 2016 qualifier.

Keane trained on Thursday morning as it emerged that Alan Harris, the man who died tragically in Portmarnock on Wednesday, was his cousin.

Roy Keane declined to comment on the player’s personal situation, but the Ireland assistant has concerns about Keane’s lack of match sharpness.

He said: “I think he’s had one full game in the last couple of months which is not ideal but when the players turn up, there will always be issues with one or two lads carrying knocks or getting up to speed with their fitness.

“Robbie’s obviously trained today. It’s not ideal but what can you do? There’s not much you can do about it. His fitness is fine in terms of his injury but he’s lacking match fitness.

“I think there’s a lot of key decisions to be made but that’s what we’re here for,” he added. “That’s obviously what the manager is paid for.

People keep talking the game up. It’s a big game, we know that, but with Martin’s experience, hopefully we pick the right starting XI.

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“There’s lots of stuff to look at — players carrying injuries, Robbie’s lack of match sharpness — so it’s just about making the calculated decision hopefully that we’ll get right.”

Keane, who has scored 65 goals in 139 Ireland caps, was the surprise omission when he was left out of the Ireland team which lost in Glasgow last November.

Roy Keane insisted that his namesake had not been ‘dropped’ for the 1-0 defeat, and backed him to deliver if he features this weekend.

“I wouldn’t say he was dropped. No no, I wouldn’t use that word.

“Horses for courses, you play certain players for certain days. I wouldn’t say Robbie was dropped.

I think if Robbie starts he won’t let us down. Whoever starts won’t let us down.

“We’ve got a lot of good competition. Murph’s (Daryl Murphy) doing well, (David) McGoldrick, (Shane) Long — it’s good competition up front.

“We’ll see over the next 24 hours.”

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Niall Kelly

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