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Keane urges FAI to secure O´Neill´s future

Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has backed manager Martin O’Neill to remain in charge, stating the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) would be “silly” not to offer him a new contract.

O’Neill is approaching the end of the two-year deal he signed in November 2013, with reports suggesting an extension to his deal has already been tabled.

Ahead of their European Championship qualification play-off with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Keane backed his manager and reiterated the squad’s desire to reach the Euro 2016 in France next year.

“I think you’ve seen from the very, very start of the campaign that as a group we’ve grown into it,” the 35-year-old told a news conference.

“It’d be silly if the manager didn’t get a new contract but we certainly want to finish this campaign off qualifying for France and we started the campaign off with that goal in mind.

“We’d be disappointed if we didn’t do it.”

Keane has scored five goals in nine qualifiers for the European Championship and will likely be tasked with helping his side past Bosnia-Herzegovina over the coming days.

The LA Galaxy striker is his country’s leading goalscorer and insists he is not finished yet, adding: “I still have a lot to offer.

“I’ve scored 20 goals in 24 games for Galaxy this year so it’s not like I’m kind of on my way out. I can still score goals if I get the opportunities.

“If I’m called upon anywhere I can play. Every player wants to play but the manager has to make a decision that’s right for the team and the team is more important than any individual.”

Keane will not contest a place in attack with Shane Long for Friday’s first leg, with the Southampton forward ruled out due to an ankle injury.

Long, who scored the winning goal when Ireland stunned Germany 1-0 in the penultimate game of their Group D campaign, is still in with a chance of lining up for the second leg at the Aviva Stadium.

“[Shane] got a great boost from scoring against Germany and didn’t play that long against Poland before he was injured, and remember he hasn’t done that much work since,” O’Neill said.

“But he is improving and he feels that. I think sometimes along the way you have to try and go with the players that you know here that are available and that can actually start a game for you.”

Wed 11 Nov, 2015
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