Keane: Ireland have attacking threats to hurt Sweden

Ireland captain back in contention following his break in February and insists that the Boys in Green have the weapons to hurt the Swedes on Friday night
Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane insists that his team are full of attacking threats and are not just set up to contain Sweden. The Boys in Green face their World Cup qualification Group C rivals in the Friends Arena on Friday night and the inclusion of Paul Green ahead of James McCarthy suggests that the side have a 'thou shall not pass' attitude.

The LA Galaxy striker himself will also play a deeper-lying role to help out the midfield, which also includes Glenn Whelan. Nonetheless, Keane said: "If you look at the players we have, we can certainly [attack]. We have to be clever. We can't be naive and, from the start, try to win the game in the first 20 minutes.

"Robbie Brady is an attacking player, [James] McClean is an out and out winger, Shane Long and myself, you've got four players who like to attack. But it's important when we don't have the ball, I can be the extra man in midfield, and help the team out as much as I can.

"When you are playing away from home against a strong team, my role will certainly change a small bit, dropping in, making that extra midfield player, basically, playing in the hole, stopping their midfielders from playing. Shane will probably play higher up. I'll give him that link between the striker and midfield. It's a role I am very familiar with," added the ex-Tottenham and Liverpool player.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni named his side on Thursday afternoon but cautioned in the pre-match press conference that Hull City player Robbie Brady was not 100 per cent certain to start, referring to 'psychological' issues.

Later, he clarified that when he asked Brady for a repeat of his performance in the recent friendly against Poland, the 21-year-old gave a less than satisfactory answer. He added that Brady might read tomorrow's papers, see the comments about his manager's 'little doubt' and be more determined.

Keane is confident that the ex-Manchester United player would rise to the challenge. "I don't think he's short on confidence," said the captain.

"When you are young, you've got no fear. Certainly Robbie and Seamus [Coleman] are those kind of characters. I understand what the manager is trying to do. He's trying to make him think and make him play better and help the team as much as he can. I am sure he'll be fine, he's a good character, a good chap to have around."

The former Inter attacker will be partnered by Shane Long, who is likely to face West Brom team-mate Jonas Olsson. The 32-year-old thinks that it can be helpful for Ireland. He said: "I think it's an advantage," Keane disclosed.

"I always liked playing against players I used to play with. You know their ins and outs, their strengths and weaknesses. I am sure Shane knows everything about him. "He's a good player, he's a big lad. I think it's important to get around his feet as much as we can. They have two big centre-halves so anything on the ground, close to the box and we could cause them problems."

The California-based striker also insisted that there are no issues in the camp, despite a number of recent fall-outs. Keane admitted surprise at the exclusion of long-time strike partner Kevin Doyle from the squad and Darron Gibson has not made himself available since the European Championships. The manager also had a public spat with defender Stephen Kelly around February's friendly with Poland.

"The mood has been fine. These are the two most important games. It's vitally important by Wednesday we have four to six points. They are a point ahead of us. If we lose tomorrow, it's certainly going to be tough," added Keane.

After Friday's encounter, Ireland play host to Austria on Tuesday.