Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Robbie the new Irish captain

It's a big responsibility for Robbie I see Robbie Keane has been chosen as the new Ireland captain by manager Steve Staunton.

Keane gets the nod ahead of goalkeeper Shay Given who has been made vice-captain.

Staunton, who took his first official training session as Irish boss yesterday, confirmed: "He's a world-class player. You only have to look at the clubs he's played for. Our lads respect him - the utmost respect - and I've given him a little challenge. He's certainly up for the job. I'm sure he'll do a good job."

He added: "The fans see him as an icon. You only have to listen to the chorus tomorrow night and he responds as Shay does at other end. Those factors and the added responsibility it will bring him can make him a better player again."

Keane succeeds Birmingham City's Kenny Cunningham as captain who retired from international football last October in the wake of Ireland's failure to qualify for this summer's World Cup finals.

Given, Richard Dunne and Kevin Kilbane had also been touted as potential captains since Staunton's appointment in mid-January.

I personally think this is a good decision. As much as I love Shay Given, I'm not a big fan of making goalkeepers captains. I think it defeats the purpose as presumably the job of a captain is to get the manager's points across on the pitch which is something a goalkeeper has difficulty in doing.

There didn't appear to be many other alternatives in my opinion. No way would I entrust the captaincy with Dunne or Kilbane as I don't think either has merited it.

Keane has had his critics alright and unlike Staunton I wouldn't quite rate him 'world-class' but the bottom line is he is Ireland's record goalscorer and he has earned the respect of the players and fans alike.

What is evident now more than ever though to me is that we have lost two great leaders in Roy Keane and Kenny Cunningham. Robbie certainly has big shoes to fill.

What are your thoughts on Robbie Keane being handed the captaincy?


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