Robbie Keane has admitted he may need surgery to cure a persistent Achilles problem.
The 33-year-old Republic of Ireland skipper will not start Tuesday night’s friendly against Poland in Poznan despite delaying a visit to a specialist to make the trip.
However, with his season in the United States over he will keep an appointment next week, when he will discover whether or not an operation is required.
Asked if he may need surgery, the Los Angeles Galaxy frontman said: “It is kind of looking like that but I won’t know for definite until Monday.
“But there is definitely something that will have to be done, and that is likely to be it.”
Keane attended the pre-match press conference at the INEA Stadium on Monday evening, but it was manager Martin O’Neill who revealed that the man who scored his 62nd senior international goal in Friday night’s 3-0 victory over Latvia will not lead the team out against the Poles.
O’Neill said: “Robbie won’t start on Tuesday night. He’s had an Achilles problem that’s been chronic now for a while.
“It’s something that, now that he’s going to get a little bit of a break with LA, he’s going to get sorted out.
“My doctor said to me that if I wasn’t going to start him in the game that perhaps he might stay (behind) and he might be able to get an appointment a week earlier – and a week, you know, for the amount of time that he’s off, might have been important.
“I gave that some consideration, but deep down, I wanted Robbie to come and the moment he said ’I’m coming,’ I think that spoke volumes for him, it really did.
“I was really pleased that even if he had an opportunity to get something sorted out on Wednesday of this week, he was prepared to leave it go to travel.
“As captain of the side, it’s great for him and from my point of view, it’s great to hear.”
Keane admitted there was never any chance of him not making the trip despite what could lie ahead.
He said: “I wanted to come and always want to be involved. I have time off after – it is not like I have a game on Saturday after this week.
“I will see the specialist and hopefully get it all sorted out.”
O’Neill is yet to select a replacement captain – he hinted defender John O’Shea might get the nod if he starts – and will make changes as he attempts to run the rule over as many of his squad members as possible.
Keane and O’Shea, of course, were part of the squad which played two games at the stadium during their ill-fated Euro 2012 campaign, losing 3-1 to Croatia and 2-0 to Italy either side of a 4-0 trouncing by Spain in Gdansk.
Those memories remain unpleasant for the men who experienced them, and Keane admitted to a sense of deja vu as he sat down in front of the media.
He said: “When I walked in through that door there, I just remember this room.
“Obviously, they are not great memories, but that’s gone now. It’s the past, so we look forward to Tuesday night and playing against certainly a good Polish team.
“It’s going to be, as the manager said, a different test from Latvia, but it’s a game that certainly the players are well up for and looking forward to.”
If Keane remains Ireland’s talisman and most potent threat, that dual role for Poland has been assumed by Borussia Dortmund’s in-demand frontman Robert Lewandowski.
The Dubliner said: “He is obviously a fantastic player and I think over the last few years, he has come on even better and better.
“It goes to show how well he has done with the interest he is creating around the world of football, and the big teams seem to be looking at him.
“He is a very, very good player. He’s a player that I really, really like and he is certainly a player that we have to look out for because he is very, very dangerous and his goalscoring record is incredible.”