Keane happy to shoulder burden

PA Sport
Robbie Keane

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Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane will not be weighed down by expectation as he leads the Republic of Ireland into Euro 2012 battle.

The 31-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy striker will wear the captain's armband in Poland and Ukraine, but will also be the man expected to carry the bulk of his side's goal threat after extending his record tally for the nation to 53 in qualification.

He said: "Of course there's always responsibility on you as captain. Especially when you are away for so long, there are going to be times where a few of the lads are going to be down, there are going to be a few little niggles in training with players, but that's normal stuff when you are away and you are stuck in a hotel for a long, long time."

"But it's important for me as captain and the senior players, as soon as any sort of negativity is around the camp, it's important that us as senior players nip it in the bud straight away," he went on.

"As captain, you can't carry the whole team, so first and foremost, you have to make sure that as a player, you are doing the best you can to help the team, so I will certainly be doing that."

There will be a heightened level of expectation on Ireland as a whole as a result of the strides they have made under Giovanni Trapattoni in the last four years, despite the fact that they have been drawn in a group which also includes Spain, Italy and Croatia.

But that too is not something which unduly concerns Keane. He said: "That comes with how well we have done as a team. If you have seen the performances since the manager took over the reins, the level has increased a hell of a lot.

"That's full credit to the players and the backroom staff. Expectations come when you are doing well as a team, so that's the reason for that."

The Republic face Bosnia in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday, and head off for their pre-tournament training camp in Montecatini, Italy, on Sunday.

Most of the players will already have been together for a week, some for 10 days. Keane said: "This is normal procedure for any country. Maybe a few countries have one or two or three days' difference, but this is normal for any team to meet up, this length of time."

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