Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane emphatically dismissed suggestions that Robbie Keane could miss the crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Germany after becoming a new father.
Robbie and Claudine Keane announced their second son was born on Monday, with the LA Galaxy forward absent from training with his national side the following day.
Former Tottenham star Keane will join up with his international team-mates on Wednesday and Martin O’Neill’s number two told a news conference that he would be expected to play a full part against the world champions, in no uncertain terms.
When asked if the player would play, Keane pondered: “Why wouldn’t he be?”
Addressing the issue of the new arrival directly, the ex-Manchester United midfielder added: “Well, he didn’t have the baby. Unless he’s breast-feeding, he should be alright.”
Ireland occupy third place in Group D, four points clear of Scotland in the play-off position, but face a daunting trip to Poland to conclude their campaign after taking on Germany.
A late equaliser from John O’Shea gave the Irish a 1-1 draw in Gelsenkirchen last October and Roy Keane believes both teams have improved since that encounter.
“Absolutely [Germany are better], but we are as well,” he said.
“I think we’re a stronger team now as with any campaign – we were settling in at the start, we were new to the job.
“I think we’re a better team now.”