Keane: FAI would be 'silly' not to renew O'Neill's contract

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The LA Galaxy striker is hopeful of qualifying for Euro 2016 by beating Bosnia & Herzegovina in a play-off but believes the manager should keep the job beyond next summer

Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has backed Martin O'Neill to remain the manager of the national team, insisting the Football Association of Ireland would be "silly" not to offer him a new contract.

O'Neill is approaching the end of the two-year deal he signed in November 2013, with reports suggesting an extension has already been tabled.

Keane is targeting victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina in Ireland's play-off tie for a place at Euro 2016 and believes O'Neill should be given the chance to continue to develop the squad beyond next summer.

"I think you've seen from the very, very start of the campaign that as a group we've grown into it," the 35-year-old told reporters.

"It'd be silly if the manager didn't get a new contract but we certainly want to finish this campaign off qualifying for France and we started the campaign off with that goal in mind.

"We'd be disappointed if we didn't do it."


The LA Galaxy striker has scored five goals in nine qualifying matches and, despite turning 35 in July, is confident he still has a role to play at international level.

"I still have a lot to offer," Keane added. "I've scored 20 goals in 24 games for Galaxy this year so it's not like I'm kind of on my way out. I can still score goals if I get the opportunities.

"If I'm called upon anywhere I can play. Every player wants to play but the manager has to make a decision that's right for the team and the team is more important than any individual."

Keane's chances of starting the first leg against Bosnia have been enhanced by the absence of Shane Long, who has been ruled out due to an ankle injury.

Long scored the winning goal when Ireland beat world champions Germany in the penultimate game of their Group D campaign and is still in with a chance of returning for the second leg at the Aviva Stadium.

"[Shane] got a great boost from scoring against Germany and didn't play that long against Poland before he was injured, and remember he hasn’t done that much work since," O'Neill said.

"But he is improving and he feels that. I think sometimes along the way you have to try and go with the players that you know here that are available and that can actually start a game for you."
 

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