Tuesday 23 January 2018

Keane pays Coleman ultimate compliment

Coleman training this week. Photo: Sportsfile
Coleman training this week. Photo: Sportsfile

Roy Keane has paid Seamus Coleman the ultimate compliment by comparing him with one of Ireland's most successful players of all time, Denis Irwin.

Revealing that Coleman did some light training with the squad in advance of Monday's World Cup qualifying campaign opener against Serbia in Belgrade, he also highlighted how much progress Ireland's France 2016 skipper has made.

"Seamus has trained. It was a light session, almost a day off in terms of the physical work we were doing. John O'Shea got through it no problem, as you would expect," said Keane.

"Seamus took part in the full session but it was very, very light and he has obviously stayed behind to do a bit more - so yeah, we're hopeful for Monday. I know he hasn't played much football, but hey - so what?"

Asked about the surprise emergence of Coleman as Ireland skipper in France, Keane recalled Irwin's influence and how he achieved it.

"I'm comparing him to Denis Irwin, and I don't mean in a football sense," he said. "Denis led by being a brilliant player and Seamus is the same type of player. He leads by the way he plays, by being a brilliant player and a good lad.


"He doesn't get too high or too low, he's a real 'Steady Eddie' - and I mean that in the nicest possible way, the way Denis was.

"The fact that I'm talking (about Seamus) in the same breath as Denis Irwin tells you what I think of Seamus. I don't do that with many players," added Keane.

Keane is expecting a tough challenge in Belgrade but he believes that he is working with a squad which proved its credentials in France.

"We've got some confidence from it (Euro 2016)," he insisted.

"We found in the last year or two that lads were stepping up to the plate in international football.

"The Bradys, the Hendricks, hopefully O'Dowda might do it. I think we're in a good place. But I've said it before talk is cheap, you have to go out and do the business.

"It's a tough group. We've had a lot of tough challenges since we came into the job - the first group, the play-off matches, the group in the Euros.

"What we find with the group of players we have and the squad we have, they'll have a go - and they'll have a go on Monday.

"It is a tough group. Your aim always in football is to aim for the top, be number one. It's going to be difficult. There is gong to be some ups and downs and we're back on that roller coaster."

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