John Giles, Liam Brady and Eamon Dunphy have defended Robbie Keane’s performances for Ireland following criticism from viewers on RTÉ Sport’s Euro Extra web-only programme.
Eamon Dunphy led the defence of the Irish skipper, who missed a penalty in the draw with Slovakia, saying: ‘I have always thought that Robbie Keane makes a great contribution to the Irish team.
‘He has given a lot of leadership, scored a lot of goals, and goals in big matches. I think he has been a very, very good player.
‘I do feel he is low in confidence at the moment because of his club situation and that showed tonight (against Slovakia).
‘I would not jump on Robbie. I know a lot of people, in the media as well, who don’t like him and question his character. I think he is very brave and has scored some very important goals for Ireland. I like him.
‘The only thing that I would have against him at the moment is the diving we saw on Friday night (against Russia).’
Fellow analyst, and former Republic of Ireland assistant manager, Liam Brady added: ‘I don’t think he should be dropped. He is the best finisher we have in the squad, although it wasn’t his night tonight. The fact he is not playing for Tottenham does not help him as a striker.
‘If you analyse who we have, Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, Caleb Folan - I would pick Robbie Keane every time.
‘I don’t think he has long left at top international level but, at the moment with what Trapattoni has available, I would pick him.’
John Giles commented: ‘Over the years Robbie Keane has never been the complete player.
‘There has been matches where he has contributed very little, but has scored two goals.
‘It’s very easy to come down on him tonight because he missed a few chances, which is down to him not playing regularly at club level, but I have seen him play a lot worse than tonight and score goals, and I would be prepared to live with that.’