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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018

'We’re missing Seamus Coleman. He’s as big a loss to us as Bale is to Wales'

Roy Keane has played down the significance of the Real Madrid star’s absence next week.


IRELAND ASSISTANT BOSS Roy Keane has played down the significance of Gareth Bale’s absence ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales.

It was confirmed today that the Real Madrid star would take no part in next week’s game at Cardiff City Stadium, but Keane said Ireland’s own injury worries were equally significant.

He’s an important player for them, but we’re missing Seamus Coleman, Jon Walters. They’re as important to us as Bale is to Wales, so that’s life,” Keane said at a press conference today.

“I’ve not really discussed it with (the players). As I’ve said, we’re missing Seamus Coleman. He’s as big a loss as Bale is to Wales.

We’ve got another game on Friday night (against Moldova), so if you want to discuss the Wales game, you’re talking to the wrong guy.

“We’ve got our own important match on Friday night and we’ve had our own injury problems.

We lost (Jeff) Hendrick recently, Jon Walters has been brilliant for us. It’s just part of the game.”

There were no fresh injury concerns for Martin O’Neill today. Shane Long sat out today’s session as a precaution, but should be available for the coming matches, while every other member of the current squad trained.

Keane added that James McCarthy “did probably 70% of what the other players have done” and, not for the first time, reserved some cutting remarks for his club, Everton.

James seems to be getting a lot of injuries at Everton, so I don’t think we’ve anything to worry about with how much we push James.

“The medical staff are all over it, they’re in contact with Everton. I think they’ve more scientists involved than there needs to be.

I said the last time, clubs, as much as what they look at what we’re doing, they have to look at what they’re doing themselves. James seems pretty upbeat and I’m glad to have him here.”

Keane had a further dig at the Toffees later in the press conference. When asked about the contribution of Stephen Ward and Jeff Hendrick in scoring the winning goal for Burnley at Goodison Park on Sunday, the Corkonian downplayed the significance of the Irish contingent’s skill and instead criticised the hosts’ backline.

If you watch it over again, it’s just really poor defending from Everton,” he said. “I like to think that if we conceded a goal like that, we’d be disappointed. I’m delighted for the Irish lads at Burnley, they all seem to be having a really good season.

“But I know that if I was the Everton manager and I saw my players defending like that, I wouldn’t be happy. I’d be more worried about that than any brilliant play from Burnley — it was a couple of square passes, a full back and a midfielder not going with their runners, so I think it was more the other way around than brilliant play.”

Video shot by Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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Paul Fennessy

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