Robbie Keane omitted from Ireland squad for Serbia friendly

There were few surprises in the Ireland squad with the captain concentrating on the opening of the MLS season and not taking part
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has named a 29-man squad for the friendly against Serbia on March 5 at the Aviva Stadium.

One notable absentee is captain Robbie Keane, who has been allowed to stay with LA Galaxy as they continue their preparations for MLS's March 8 kick-off.

"I have spoken with Robbie," O'Neill said. "I met up with his manager Bruce Arena in London in January. We both agreed to let him (Keane) get settled in after the operation. They're (LA Galaxy) starting the season very, very shortly. We'll monitor his situation and hopefully he'll be ready for the summer games.

"Robbie's pretty happy with that. For the travelling time, if I'm going to look at someone else at this minute, if I'm going to play him for maybe a half of a game, I didn't feel it was worth it."

O'Neill also revealed he intends to meet Stoke City's Stephen Ireland personally to discuss a return to the international fold while the on-going uncertainty over Shay Given's club future means that, for the time being, a return is not feasible for the 125-cap goalkeeper.

Ireland squad to face Serbia on March 5:

Goalkeepers: Forde, Randolph, Elliot
Defenders: Kelly, Keogh, Wilson, Coleman, O'Shea, Dunne, Pearce, Delaney, Clark, Ward
Midfielders: McCarthy, Whelan, Green, Meyler, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Quinn, Hoolahan, Reid
Forwards: Murphy, Long, Walters, Doyle, Cox, Stokes