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Keane fit for Republic
Published : 06 Sep 2011 10:00:18Rss feed
Robbie Keane will put his body on the line once again as the Republic of Ireland attempt to rekindle their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign in Russia.
The 31-year-old striker has been struggling since Friday night's 0-0 draw with Slovakia in Dublin after being caught in the back with a knee. However, he has no intention of allowing his name to be added to the list of players unavailable to manager Giovanni Trapattoni for the crucial Group B showdown at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
Keane said: "I am fit for selection. Of course, it's not an ideal situation, but it's not one of those that's going to stop me from playing. I just got a knee into the back, it's swollen and that's basically it. I go into most games with little niggles here and there - I don't think any player goes into a game 100% now."
Keane played in Moscow on Ireland's last visit in September 2002 when they lost 4-2, and captained the side which went down 3-2 at home earlier in the current campaign.
On a disastrous night at the Aviva Stadium, the Republic found themselves 3-0 down inside 50 minutes, before the LA Galaxy frontman and then Shane Long struck in a concerted fightback which came up just short. However, Keane is confident the lessons of that night have been learnt.
He said: "We have been doing really well lately and we haven't conceded too may goals. We have learnt the lessons from the game against Russia in Ireland and we will be taking them into the game.
"They started with a high tempo and the way they played, the shape, there were players all over the place. We will be fully aware of what they are going to do and learn lessons from the last game.
"But in saying that, the way we came back shows that we did get a grip of that game, especially in the second half, so we will be trying from the start of the game to stop them from doing what they do best."
That task could include limiting Keane's former Tottenham team-mate Roman Pavlyuchenko, and the Irishman had some words of support when asked by a Russian journalist why things have not worked out for him at White Hart Lane.
He said: "If you look at his record when he plays, he does well for Tottenham. He's a great guy and a fantastic player, so I would disagree with you saying he hasn't done well there. When he's had his opportunities, he has certainly done well."
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