Keane: Republic galvanised by Trapattoni

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Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane believes his team-mates have shown their commitment to the national team's cause, even before a ball has been kicked in their friendly against Australia in Limerick on Wednesday.

Boss Giovanni Trapattoni has this week enjoyed the enviable position of having a near full-strength team to work with after only Coventry striker Leon Best pulled out of the original 24-man squad - which was named last month - due to an injury he suffered at the weekend.

And Keane said: "You can see already with results we have had that since the manager has come in that he has done a great job. What he has done in the past goes without saying and he has made a massive impact on Irish football, not just the team but also the country."

The Republic have been revived since the Italian took charge, losing just once in 12 games under his leadership.

Most importantly they are second in their World Cup qualification group, a point behind leaders Italy albeit having played a game more, to give Keane and his team-mates belief over hope they can qualify for next year's finals in South Africa.

With that in mind Keane said it was unthinkable any player would want to miss out on the chance of trying to cement a place in the team, with Wednesday's friendly against the already-qualified Socceroos arriving less than a month before their key World Cup match in Cyprus on September 5.

Keane added: "I don't think that any player pulls out for the sake of it unless they are genuinely injured.

"But certainly over last couple years since the manager's been here everyone wants to play.

"This is a massive year for everyone. We are all fighting for places and desperately want to try and make the World Cup.

"I think our players have been good over the years in that regard, we want to play for our country, so that's a credit for us."

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Robbie Keane
Leon Best
Coventry City

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