Robbie Keane handed under-pressure Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni a boost when he boarded the plane for the Faroe Islands.
The 32-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy striker, Ireland’s leading scorer with 54 goals, missed Friday night’s 6-1 drubbing by Germany, after which the nation’s patience with the 73-year-old Italian appeared to have worn dangerously thin.
However, having tested his Achilles injury in training in Malahide yesterday, Keane was among the party which jetted out to Torshavn ahead of tomorrow night’s World Cup qualifier, a game Trapattoni has already admitted is a must-win affair.
A spokesman for the Football Association of Ireland said last night: “Following training this morning in Gannon Park, Robbie Keane has been ruled fit to travel with the squad for Tuesday’s match against the Faroe Islands.”
However, the news was not all good for the manager. Andy Keogh, who scored the Republic’s consolation goal against the Germans after coming on as a substitute, was unable to join his captain after suffering concussion in a training-ground collision on Saturday.
Trapattoni has challenged his players to produce a swift response in the Faroes to get their Group C campaign back on track.
The veteran manager is in little doubt that his detractors are growing in both number and volume, and worse could follow if he returns from Torshavn without three points.
Equally a victory might placate, for the time being at least, some of those who are not yet fully convinced that the time has come for change.
Trapattoni and his players headed out of Dublin still licking their wounds after their merciless mauling at the hands of the Germans, but determined to put things right at the earliest opportunity.