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Sunday 17 December 2017

Keane given 'Totti' role

GIOVANNI Trapattoni wants Robbie Keane to give his best impression of Francesco Totti when Ireland take on the Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road tonight, writes Paul Hyland.

Aware that both Russia and Slovakia cut his system apart in qualifying, Trapattoni will use Keane to plug a gap.

"Remember many months ago, I said Robbie could be my Totti. He can play in this deep position," said Trap, asking Keane to shoulder even more responsibility.

Trap is happy that the Cezchs will provide a picture perfect approximation of Ireland's Euro 2012 opening opposition, Croatia.

"It's the last test for us," said Trap. "And it's important that after being back at their clubs where they play their other systems, the players can come back to us and show that they still have the same enthusiasm.

"We have great spirit and we continue to believe that even if we don't put on a great show, we can get good results; we believe that over 90 minutes anything is possible."

Anything but the promotion of Ireland's emerging talent to the squad, it would seem.

"If we have one or two injuries, we may have changes but we now have about 50 days to the Bosnia game and the squad will be the same," said Trap.

"First we have to show respect for the players who contributed to qualifying.

"It is a good squad and we know the young players can come in to the squad in the future. Now we need the players with personality and condition and not the younger ones.

"This group deserve to go to the finals and they have always played well. There may be one or two injuries or tired players, or players who will not have played for two months and have been on the bench.

"And I may have to think about that."

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