Keane: England must keep Rooney mentally sharp at Euro 2012

The Manchester United striker is banned for the first two games of the tournament and the Irishman says ensuring he is ready to return is key to the Three Lions' chances
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane believes England must keep Wayne Rooney mentally sharp during his two-game ban if they are to succeed at Euro 2012.

Rooney will serve a suspension for his kick at Montenegrin defender Miodrag Dzudovic during the final qualifying game for the tournament.

The new manager has demanded his players behave themselves at Euro 2012
The Red Devils striker will not have played since his team’s 1-0 win at Sunderland on the final day of the season, a full 37 days before he is expected to return in the Three Lions' final group game against Ukraine.

“English and Irish players are the same - we don’t like hanging around hotels or training camps in the middle of nowhere.” Keane told The Mirror.

“I think the big problem for Wayne will be the boredom, mentally trying to build up for a game, although he will be fresh, he will give England something a bit different and he will come straight back into the team unless they win their first two games.

“Like Wayne, I wasn’t a great one for sitting around. As you get older, if you might get married and have kids you might appreciate the peace and quiet.”

Having had his own experience of trouble in past major tournaments, Keane expects Rooney to be "irritated" about the fact that he is unable to play in the first two games and warns Hodgson he will have to deal with that.

“But Rooney is still young, he’s pretty active mentally, and Roy Hodgson will have to manage that,” Keane continued.

“Get the balance right between keeping him sharp and not overdoing it, and guard against him getting irritated that he’s not playing in the first couple of games.

“If he doesn’t play in England’s two warm-up games, he will go into his first match [against Ukraine] having not kicked a ball for five weeks.

“There are plusses and minuses to that, but it’s not as if Wayne can feel his way into the tournament. He will have to produce from the first game and, as good a player as he is, that will be difficult.”