Football

Roy Keane Was In Fine Form During His Press Conference Today

Roy Keane Was In Fine Form During His Press Conference Today

An upbeat (well, for him anyway) Roy Keane, along with Richard Keogh and Ciaran Clark, have spoken to the media ahead of this Saturday’s crucial Euro 2016 Group E match with Belgium.

Without doubt, the highlight was Keane's response to a Belgian reporter who claimed that Ireland would be favourites this weekend.

The bad news for Irish fans is that Keane has effectively ruled Jon Walters out of playing any part against the Belgians, with the Achilles injury that blighted the end of his domestic campaign with Stoke City continuing to bother him.

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Despite Walters' injury, Keane says that Ireland have remained upbeat throughout training this week and are determined to carry the positives from Ireland's 1-1 draw with Sweden into the Belgium tie.

The performance against Sweden was excellent. Disappointed we didn't get the three points [but] the aim is now to build on that.

Other than Walters, there are no fresh injury concerns in the Irish camp. Wes Hoolahan, who captured the attention of Europe with his display against the Swedes, is expected to start this weekend and Keane maintains that there are no concerns over his fitness.

Wes made it clear that he was struggling [on Monday]. It was fatigue. He has trained the last few days, he's fine. No problem.

Keane also took time to pay tribute to the Irish support who have travelled to France to support the team, calling their support "brilliant" and hailed the atmosphere in Paris as "fantastic".

Ireland's assistant manager also found time to qualify his statement that he'd "kick up and down" Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard in training.

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Defenders Richard Keogh and Ciaran Clark replaced Keane in the media room after his conference ended and Clark addressed the own goal he scored which cost Ireland two points in the opening fixture.

The own goal was disappointing. It's not nice to be the one that the ball comes off. I don't think we deserved to come away with a draw.

Keogh, meanwhile, was magnanimous in his praise for Clark - the player who has taken the Derby skipper's place in Martin O'Neill's starting XI.

The manager has a tough decision to make. I don't take it personally, it's a team game. I thought Ciaran Clark did very well. The manager knows he can rely on me. I'm ready if called upon. It's a proud moment to be representing my country at a major tournament.

And we're all happy to have him there, but after Clark's performance against Sweden, it'll be very tough for Keogh or Shane Duffy to edge their way in at this stage.

John Balfe

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