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Monday 26 September 2016

Feckless players roasted by bad cop Roy

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane is pictured during squad training at Fota Island Resort, Cork yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane is pictured during squad training at Fota Island Resort, Cork yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile

If Roy Keane allows even a tiny morsel of the scorn he ladled over some unnamed unfortunates in the Ireland squad to escape in the Fota Island resort, even the large beasts there will duck under the foliage.

Bad cop Roy let off both barrels and then lobbed in a few hand grenades to make sure the whole country knows that the Ireland management is not a bit pleased with the way some feckless players, perhaps all the players, performed against Belarus.

Which was fair enough. On a night designed for goals and much raucous cheering, Ireland went belly-up against Belarus and Keane wasn't shy about pointing the finger.

Aiden McGeady, in particular, must be blushing.

"Would Aiden find himself lucky to be on the flight? Well he'll need to play better than he did last night to force his way into the starting XI," he said.

Fitness

"If you want my reaction to Aiden's performance last night, he can do a lot better but maybe that's the story of his career."

In more general terms, Keane clearly has a problem with the fitness levels displayed by Daryl Murphy and Jeff Hendricks although he didn't single them out by name.

"Sometimes we make excuses for players, they've not played much football', but they're still training, you still control the ball, you have to run. You can still physically get into decent shape," he said.

"You can lack match sharpness, you can forgive a player for that but you've got to get yourself in a good state. Be fit. Be as strong as you can. Eat properly. Prepare properly.

"You're playing international football. Control the bloody ball. Pass it to your mates and if you lose it, run back and run back like you care. We trained this morning People go on about pushing players, but there are certain lads in our group that you don't have to push.

"You don't have to push Jon Walters, Seamus Coleman or Glenn Whelan who trained this morning with the other lads who didn't play. It was a good session, good to be back on the grass.

"For the coaches it's always the same - getting that balance right, training, the length of training, the short and sharp stuff and that was good today. It's up to the players to give a manager a headache. Sometimes you find out during an 11 v 11 on the training pitch. If the manager is not sure about who to start with, put yourself up against a good player and sort yourselves out.

"The balance of training, everything, at this stage of the season it's short and sharp, that would be the phrase we're using.

"Plenty of recovery, plenty of rest, but the lads who are doing it, whatever you're doing, do it properly.

"Even if training is 45 minutes or an hour, do it properly. Football is about good habits and one or two of our players just need to get into that mindset."

Keane knows all about carrying an injury into a major tournament. It was a fine judgement to select Robbie Keane and James McCarthy so how did they reach that decision? "You speak to medical staff. Martin, he's certainly a loyal man, loyalty comes into it. The lads who have been involved in the campaign, James, Robbie, Fordey - that was very difficult for Fordey," he said.

"It's not ideal for James but he has played a decent amount of football. Robbie has a positive frame of mind and you want him around.

Cavalry

"It's not a sympathy one. Generally speaking his injury record is very good. Although he's had a difficult few months with the previous injury. If he misses a week or two it's not the end of the world for Robbie."

Keane expects all the men on standby to be ready of the call comes and doesn't believe he will be disappointed if there is a need to call for the cavalry.

"Yes, people forget about that. We have the safety thing at back of our minds. I spoke to the players going home last night. I told them you just never know what might happen in this game," he said.

"The days where lads went off to Ayia Napa and got drunk for two weeks are over. Lads look after themselves.Hopefully the lads will be like that in case there is an emergency in the next two weeks."

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