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Thursday 21 September 2017

McLeish not so Keane

Villa boss in no hurry to start Irish captain

IRISH captain Robbie Keane looks set to warm the bench for his second successive Villa game with only five more Premier League fixtures remaining on his loan deal before he returns to LA Galaxy.

The 31-year-old was brought into the fray last week in Villa's 1-1 draw with Everton with just nine minutes remaining.

McLeish insists he is under no pressure to pick Keane despite the striker’s short six-week spell in Birmingham.

Keane is in the Villa squad to face his former club Wolves at Molineux in Saturday's derby.

But McLeish will only include the Los Angeles Galaxy striker in his first 11 when he feels the time is right.

Keane has been building up his fitness and sharpness after taking a three-week break at the end of the Major League Soccer season.

He is with Villa until the end of February, and McLeish said: “There isn't any pressure to start Robbie. He is not here for long but it has to be the right time.

“We are just assessing him fitness-wise. He will be very eager to play in this one (against Wolves) but he is the kind of lad who wants to be involved whoever the opposition is.

“We've got another couple of days' training before the weekend.

“Robbie has been looking sharp so I've got food for thought for the weekend but I don't want to give anything away in advance of the game.

“He has brought up the link-up skills to the team and has struck up a good rapport with Stephen Ireland as well.

“They have clicked really well. Robbie Keane is another guy who can hopefully influence others as well as contribute himself.”

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