International news

Keane cleared to play for Ireland

May 23, 2013
By Kevin Palmer

Robbie Keane is available to play for the Republic of Ireland in next week's international friendly at Wembley, as his LA Galaxy bosses belatedly granted him permission to link up with Giovanni Trapattoni's squad.

Ireland's Robbie Keane celebrates his goal
PA PhotosIreland's Robbie Keane will feature against England and Georgia

Ireland's all-time record goal scorer was forced to withdraw from the England fixture and the subsequent clash against Georgia in Dublin on June 2 after Galaxy officials insisted he has to remain in America for MLS games against Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution.

With the games falling outside of the official FIFA window for international matches, Keane needed special dispensation from his club to play and Galaxy officials have now relented, allowing the Dubliner to realise a long-held ambition to pull on the green shirt at Wembley Stadium.

"I would like to thank LA Galaxy for reconsidering their decision, after further conversations between us, which really means a lot to me," Keane said. "We have reached an agreement that will enable me to make it to the games and I look forward to playing my part."

This will be the first time the Republic of Ireland have played England since an infamous friendly in Dublin between the two countries was abandoned in 1995 due to crowd violence sparked by visiting 'fans'.

The English football authorities and their Irish counterparts were keen to banish the memories of one of the most shameful nights in English football history by staging this game to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Football Association.