Monday 28 May 2018

Robbie's revival a bonus for Trap

ROBBIE Keane is looking so sharp and fit for Aston Villa at the moment that Giovanni Trapattoni will want to hide his passport and keep him in the Premier League.

Ireland's skipper joined four compatriots on the pitch for the visit of QPR to Villa Park last night and after conceding two first-half goals, Keane was central to a stirring comeback which even showed signs of a growing partnership with Stephen Ireland.


The exiled international is also close to his best and, like Keane, was a central figure in Villa's revival.

There was even a bonus for Trapattoni, who now has another DVD of Ciaran Clark playing at centre midfield and performing the task very well.

Keane's deal runs until February 25 and there is little doubt that Alex McLeish would dive at any suggestion that he might be able to extend his stay, unlikely as that may be.

Brought in to lift Villa's goal-scoring options, Keane has been playing a much more involved role and often featured against QPR as McLeish's playmaker.

And when he wasn't doing it, Ireland showed that he is now close to the form which made him Manchester City's most effective player four seasons ago.

All the spotlights on the night were shining on Djibril Cisse, who has expressed "100 per cent confidence" that QPR will survive in the Premier League after scoring on his debut.

Cisse only obtained clearance to play an hour and a half before kick-off but needed just 12 minutes to break the deadlock.

Mark Hughes's £4million capture from Lazio showed the top-flight pedigree evident at Liverpool and Sunderland and is relishing forging a partnership with another newcomer in Bobby Zamora. Cisse said: "It is a good thing for us that we have signed Bobby Zamora. The objective is to stay in the Premier League.


"We need good strikers and good players, it is good to play alongside a good striker and Bobby fits into that category.

"But, from what I saw against Villa, I was really impressed and 100 per cent sure we will stay up."

Hughes has no doubt that Cisse will have a massive impact at Loftus Road.

He said: "I thought he was excellent. I think everyone understands why I wanted to bring him to the club.

"He was bright and intelligent in his running and showed the power and pace we all know he has -- and a good finish as well.

"He is going to be vital for us because that is something we maybe haven't had in the club before in terms of his quality and his power and technical ability.

"That is going to benefit us to the end of the season certainly."

Hughes added: "Also in my thinking was all the experience Djibril has of the Premier League.

"When you bring players to a club, ideally you want them to have an understanding of the Premier League.

"Certainly in January, it is difficult if you are bringing in players who have no understanding of what the Premier League is like and no understanding of the intensity they are going to face. He understands that and that is why he was able to make the impact he did straight away."


Villa fell 2-0 behind after Stephen Warnock's own goal, but Darren Bent's 100th Premier League goal and Charles N'Zogbia's first for the club rescued a point.

Manager Alex McLeish said: "Darren is a poacher and, in the last third, if you get the right service into him he has the elusive nature in the box and has the instinct to know where to go.

"People say he doesn't touch the ball enough but he's not that type of player, he's a penalty box player.

"If we can get the electric performances from the wide men and people like Stephen Ireland, it will only benefit him."

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