Watch highlights of the Republic of Ireland v Sweden on Thursday, March 2 on RTÉ TWO at 7.30pm.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane was today appointed the new Republic of Ireland captain.

The 25-year-old becomes the first captain of Steve Staunton's reign as Republic manager, and is a former international team-mate of the new boss.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given has been appointed vice-captain.

Keane is Ireland's record scorer with 24 goals and has already won 65 caps, as well as taking in spells with Wolves, Coventry City, Inter Milan and Leeds United during his club career.

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, following his decision to step down 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.

Meanwhile, Staunton has named his side to take on Sweden tomorrow night. Shay Given starts in goal, while Bolton's Joey O'Brien will make his debut at right back. Andy O'Brien and Richard Dunne are the centre halves, with Ian Harte at left back.

Stephen Reid, John O'Shea and Damien Duff have all been named in midfield while Staunton has named three strikers in the starting line-up -  Keane, Stephen Elliot, and Kevin Doyle.

Rep of Ireland team: Shay Given, Joey O'Brien, Andy O'Brien, Richard Dunne Ian Harte, Stephen Elliott, Stephen Reid, John O'Shea, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle.