Euro 2012: Robbie Keane happy to play deeper role for Ireland

Robbie Keane says he is happy to play in a deeper role if required during the Republic Ireland's games in Euro 2012

robbie keane
Robbie Keane will captain the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2012 Kelvin Gillmor

robbie keane

Robbie Keane insists he would be willing to play in a deeper role for the Republic of Ireland ahead of their European championship opener against Croatia on Sunday.

The 31-year-old, who is Ireland’s record goal scorer with 53 strikes, will captain his country at their first international tournament since 2002, with Giovanni Trapattoni’s side facing a tough ask to get out of a Group C comprising Italy, Spain and Slaven Bilić’s men.

Keane, capped 117 times, has been regularly deployed as the leading striker for LA Galaxy and his former club Tottenham but he says there would be no issue if Trapattoni asked the Irish skipper to play behind Kevin Doyle or Shane Long.

“It’s something I have done,” Keane said. “I have kind of played two different roles, if you like, at club level and international level.

“At international level, the pressure is on me to score the goals, but at club level, I kind of play as that number ten anyway.

“Maybe if the manager wants me to do that role, which I am sure in certain games he will probably want that, it’s something I have done before, so it wouldn’t be a problem.”

Keane was part of the Ireland squad that reached the second round of the World Cup in 2002, and the Irish forward admits he is “desperate” for the tournament to get under way after a lengthy build-up.

“We are desperate to get started now. It’s been a long few weeks. It’s been very good. The atmosphere around the place has been brilliant,” added Keane.

“Everybody is just looking forward to Sunday now.

“Of course in any competition, you want to start off straight away as well as you can and try to get points on the board because we know that in the group, anybody can beat anybody.

“We knew from Monday onwards that we are getting to the end of things now. It was good training today with the lads and we will look forward to the next couple of days and preparing for Sunday’s game.”

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