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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Rob won't quit Ireland cause: Byrne

ROBBIE Keane will not retire from international football in the near future, according to his cousin Jason Byrne.

Bray Wanderers striker Byrne, who won two caps for Ireland, believes Keane is capable of leading the line for his country in qualification for the 2014 World Cup.

He said: "I don't think it has even come into his reckoning personally that he is going to retire. He still has a lot to give.

"He has been one of Ireland's best-ever players with his goal-scoring records and appearances.

"I think you will see him in a green shirt for another few years."

Keane, who turns 32 next month, was heavily criticised following his performances at Euro 2012, putting his international future in doubt.

But Byrne reckons such criticism was unfair because he was asked to play in a position he was not familiar with and one that did not suit his style of play.

Outcome

"I think he was harshly criticised and I'm not just saying that because he is family. If you'd put anyone out on that pitch over the last couple of weeks it would have been the same outcome."

And Byrne believes Keane has the strength of character to bounce back strongly from what was a disappointing tournament by his standards.

"I know him and I know that he's not going to let people get to him like that because he's so strong-minded."

Byrne pointed to Keane's appearance tally - many of them friendlies - as testament to his loyalty to the Ireland cause, and claimed this is a sign he is willing to continue.

"He wouldn't have turned up for that many friendlies, unlike other players who just slacked off, if it didn't mean that much to him," he added.

"He's been there most times and his number of appearances show that."

Byrne was named the Airtricity/Soccer Writers' Association Player of the Month for May, after he became the second highest goalscorer on the all-time League of Ireland chart.

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