Robbie Keane has confirmed that he is, in all likelihood, set to miss the Republic of Ireland's opening game of the European Championships against Sweden on June 13th. The captain missed Martin O'Neill's side's clash with Belarus because of a calf strain and confirmed to FAI TV that he will probably only become available when the Boys in Green make the journey to Bordeaux five days later, though there is a small chance he could feature against Zlatan et al.
Lucky for me, it's not as bad as I first thought. I thought it was gonna be a lot longer. They're saying a couple of weeks-which would maybe get me (back) for the Sweden game...I'll definitely be ready for the second game. It's bad news but it could have been a lot worse.
With thousands of Irish fans set to descend on the pubs, croissant stalls and snail reserves of France, Keane also elucidated just how much the players value the effort supporters make to back up their side:
I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face, no competition is the same if we don't have the Irish fans there. For a small nation like ourselves, the support that we get no matter where we go-it's a reflection of how good this nation is and how good the support is for the players.
When I was a kid growing up, '88, '90, '94, it was the same thing. It hasn't changed, and full credit to the Irish fans. Because it's not easy for fans to go away for a few weeks. With the recession a few years ago, it's tough times for people, to get the money and to travel. It's expensive, it's not cheap for them. To do that, I'm telling you right now, the lads are very grateful for that...we genuinely appreciate the support.
Whether Keane will be enjoying that support from the pitch or the stands on Monday week remains to be seen.