Robbie Keane: Team spirit within the Ireland camp is brilliant

Republic of Ireland captain believes that the sense of togetherness and bond between the players in the squad is like nothing he has ever experienced before
Ireland's record goalscorer, Robbie Keane, has suggested that the atmosphere within the camp under Giovanni Trapattoni is unrivalled. The LA Galaxy forward told the media that he was very impressed by attitude that has been fostered under the Italian's tenure.

"It certainly does feel different this time," Keane told the Irish Independent. "There has always been a great team spirit in the Irish camp, but for some reason this has been a little bit different."

He continued: "It's the group of players, how well they get on with each other, it's been brilliant. There have been no little niggles which you usually get in tournaments like this when you're together for a long time.

"I mentioned before the Estonia game, that relaxed feeling we had before that game and it is very, very similar to now, to be honest."
And the Boys in Green captain states that the calmness in the squad is crucial so that the team does not become overawed by the occasion of Euro 2012.

"The intensity in training has been brilliant," he said. "But around the place people don't seem to be uptight or worried about next week. And I think that's always important as a player to have that calmness about you."

He continued: "Certainly over the years, the way I play better is when I keep calm. When I started getting myself worked up too much about things, you end up doing stupid things, stupid running. So far the calmness around the place has been very good.

"The players are getting better with every game, more comfortable with international football. We've had the same starting eleven for some time now so the players are very, very comfortable with each other.

"And the players on the bench who come on, they know exactly the role they have to do. And for a player that's very, very important to know that."

Keane has also suggested that he has felt the burden of responsibility throughout his career, but stresses that it is a different burden as captain.

"There has been a lot of responsibility on my shoulders since I was 17," he said yesterday. "That hasn't changed since then. People look at me to score goals and now I'm captain there is a big responsibility to help the team as much as I can.

He continued: "But I just have to concentrate on my own performances and lead by example."

The Dubliner is fit and ready to get started at the tournament and he took the opportunity to praise the preparation of the Football Association of Ireland.

"I feel fine," he said. "The last couple of weeks have been very good. We had the week in Malahide getting lads back together."

He continued: "Through that first week doing all the stuff we had to do outside of football, it's been good that this week's been fully concentrated on training.

"The lads are fit and sharp and on the training ground every day and I have seen that the sharpness of every player has been very good. This week now is where it starts.

"It was good to get 45 minutes the other night. I feel fine," said Keane.

Ireland begin their Euro 2012 campaign against Croatia on Sunday June 10 and face Hungary in Budapest in a friendly tonight.