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Stephen Hunt Gives His Opinion On Robbie Keane's Role In The Irish Team

Stephen Hunt Gives His Opinion On Robbie Keane's Role In The Irish Team
By Mikey Traynor

Stephen Hunt has given his opinion on Robbie Keane's role in the Irish squad, and similar to Eamon Dunphy and even Stephanie Roche who have voiced their opinion on the matter in recent weeks, the former Reading winger believes the Irish team would benefit if Robbie were dropped from the starting lineup.

Hunt's latest column in the Irish Independent isn't an attack on Ireland's all-time leading goalscorer, but the Waterford man is adamant in his view that Keane's lack of mobility is hurting the side in their current system under Martin O'Neill, and even shares his own feelings as a former team-mate:

There are times when it can get pretty frustrating being on the field with Robbie Keane. I've sometimes played a pass to Robbie and the next thing his arms are thrown up in frustration, with the whole crowd believing that the ball didn't meet the required standard.

I'd often stand there and think 'why don't you just run after it, Robbie?'

Aside from how he felt on the pitch, suggests that Keane is struggling in Martin O'Neill's current system and shares the commonly held view that Ireland only started to play against Poland after a tactical change saw Jon Walters moved up alongside Robbie.

The problem for Robbie is that I don't think he can score in the system Ireland played last weekend and I think it's Ireland's most effective system. Things changed against Poland when Jonathan Walters moved up front because then there was a presence there and maybe that can help Robbie, although last week it didn't.

After acknowledging that you can't forget Robbie's goalscoring record, nor his ability to find the back of the net today, Hunt concluded by saying that Ireland should look to the future and bench their captain if they continue to operate in this system.

Under O'Neill, I think Ireland will vary it. But whatever they do, they need a front man who is suited to the system. It might be sacrilege to say it, but goals are not enough. Robbie Keane needs to provide them from the bench and Ireland need to look to a future which could yet be promising.

Martin O'Neill will certainly have a big decision to make for Ireland's vital Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland in June, and as last time out Keane was dropped from the starting line-up against the Scots, it remains to be seen if the likes of Hunt will get their wish again considering Ireland's performance in that fixture.

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You can read Stephen Hunt's article in full here.

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