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Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Robbie Keane left out of Ireland squad

ESPN.com news services

Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane will miss next month's friendly against Greece as manager Giovanni Trapattoni assesses other players.

The Los Angeles Galaxy striker, the country's record goalscorer, is not included in the provisional 26-man party Trapattoni has named for the match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Nov. 14.

Trapattoni, under pressure after a disappointing Euro 2012 and a 6-1 hammering by Germany in World Cup qualifying this month, has said he intends to "try out new players."

"I feel good. I feel really sharp," Keane said Wednesday. "I'm just going to continue to do what I've been doing in recent form."

The Galaxy begin the MLS playoffs on Thursday against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Keane's omission from the Ireland squad would make him available for the Western Conference championship should the Galaxy advance that far.

Keane has 16 goals, fourth in MLS, in 28 appearances this season.

"He's an outstanding player, and his form has been excellent," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "He's been a great leader. He shows he wants to be here."

Keane is making $3.4 million as an MLS designated player this season, and he's warming up to the L.A. lifestyle. Keane and Galaxy teammate David Beckham attended the Los Angeles Lakers' season opener together on Tuesday night, hobnobbing with Russell Brand and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine at courtside.

"I know how difficult it is, traveling back and forward and playing in international games and then coming back and playing in regular-season games," Beckham said. "It's tiring on the body and on the mind at times, but Robbie has been able to overcome that. It's a testament to him as a person and as a player. His first full season, he's come in, he's scored goals, he's had assists, he's worked hard for the team, and he's one of the big reasons we're in the position we're in right now."

For Ireland, one relatively new face is in-form Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan, who made his only appearance for Ireland in 2008.

The 30-year-old initially was included in Trapattoni's squad for the August friendly in Serbia but was unable to accept the call because of injury.

The latest squad does contain experience in the likes of John O'Shea, Paul McShane, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady and Kevin Doyle.

Fulham defender Stephen Kelly is also included despite reports of a bust-up between him and assistant coach Marco Tardelli between the October matches against Germany and the Faroe Islands.

But there also are 12 players who have made fewer than 10 appearances, including uncapped Everton defender Shane Duffy and Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford.

Trapattoni intends to trim the squad to 23 before the match but is waiting on injury reports.

"I have decided to choose a provisional 26-man squad for this game due to injury doubts over players," Trapattoni said. "As we have a break from competitive games for a few months, I am using this fixture as an opportunity to try out new players and view their potential. Greece are currently 10th in FIFA's world rankings, and will provide a very difficult opposition for us.

"Players like (Georgios) Samaras, (Fanis) Gekas, and (Giorgos) Karagounis are extremely talented. I am looking forward to setting our squad up for this challenge."

Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark is included despite being out of action for almost a month with a knee problem.

Stoke left back Marc Wilson is missing after breaking his leg in his club's draw with Sunderland last weekend. Injuries also have ruled out Sean St. Ledger, Shane Long, Darron Gibson and Richard Dunne.

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.




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