Trapattoni on Keane: We need experience against Sweden

LA Galaxy striker was rested for the recent friendly against Poland but is likely to be back among the starters for the upcoming World Cup qualification matches
Giovanni Trapattoni has indicated that Robbie Keane will start for the Republic of Ireland against Sweden in this month's World Cup qualifier.

The LA Galaxy striker was rested for the recent friendly with Poland and the Italian manager started Derby's Connor Sammon and West Brom's Shane Long up front instead. He also gave Norwich's Wes Hoolahan a 30-minute run, during which he scored the second goal in a 2-0 win.

However, he is likely to revert to his tried and trusted 122-cap skipper alongside one of Kevin Doyle, Jon Walters, Simon Cox or Long for the trip to Stockholm on March 22.

"After a few days [of training] we can decide," Trapattoni said in Dublin on Friday. "I clarified before, [for] this game is important to have fast players in the middle and in the second half.

"We need experience for the first minutes because we are away, Sweden are a strong team and they will pressurise us. At this moment I think we need experience."

Asked if this meant that Sammon and Hoolahan would definitely not make the first XI, the 73-year-old said: "I would be tempted to put them in from the start but I wish to give the opportunity to watch what happens in the game, they can do very well, they can have a big impact [off the bench].

"We saw the [club] games. One or two [players] were a little bit tired. But after this week when they come back we'll have all the players. [Shane] Long is a little bit injured but he can be ready."

With Richard Dunne (groin) ruled out and Sean St Ledger (hamstring) struggling to get match fit, places in the centre of defence are up for grabs. Trapattoni hinted that he would stick with Aston Villa stand-in captain Ciaran Clark, who started, and scored, alongside John O'Shea against Poland and the previous friendly against Greece.

"We have confidence in Clark, I follow him a lot, he grows in personality," said the ex-Bayern Munich boss. "I have a good reason to start him. St Ledger has been out for a long time. He [may] play now but we have [Darren] O'Dea, John O'Shea, we have good options [in this position]."

Incidentally, the recalled Stephen Kelly was not named-checked at this point but Trapattoni insisted: "Kelly is available [for this spot], he's in the squad."

The manager was also asked if his game plan in Stockholm would be to contain the Swedes. He replied: "Diplomatically, we say [we'll] never renounce attacking football. How and when [we attack are the questions]. There is the system, when we have advantage [we can attack]. Sweden are strong, we know the players, we will push them, but there is just one ball."

The Italian has named a provisional 29-man squad for the double-header against Sweden and Austria but that will be trimmed down to 23 next week.