Keane told to be patient

Assistant Ireland manager Marco Tardelli said the management of the team want record goalscorer Robbie Keane to bide his time and peak for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia.

Keane was clearly disappointed to be denied the chance to score a hat-trick - and take his international goal tally closer to 50 – when he was substituted after striking twice in Monday’s emphatic 5-0 win over Northern Ireland in Dublin.

The Tottenham striker is now just one goal short of equalling England legend Bobby Charlton’s British Isles record of 49.

The 30-year-old will again be in action against Scotland in the final Carling Nations Cup match at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday before the Irish travel to Skopje for their important qualifier on June 4.

Ireland then have another friendly against Italy before their season comes to an end.

Assistant manager Marco Tardelli, a World Cup winner with Italy in 1982, said: “He wants to reach 49, 50 goals. He would be the first player from Ireland to do so.

“But there are many matches – Sunday, Macedonia and Italy. We will be looking for him to arrive after injury for the match against Macedonia.”

Keane has endured a frustrating domestic season after falling out of favour at Tottenham and joining West Ham in a loan spell which was punctuated by injury and ended in relegation.

The much-travelled forward now accepts he is likely to be looking for a ninth professional club in the summer with little prospect of a future at White Hart Lane.

Keane has said his options in the top flight may be limited but Tardelli expects him to continue at that level.

He said: “I think it is important for us he plays in the Premier League, like all players. But I think he is a good player and he will find another Premier League team, I am sure.”

Simon Cox and Stephen Ward also shone by scoring on debut on Tuesday while Seamus Coleman looked sharp after being sent off in Everton’s season-ending game last weekend.

Tardelli claims the Irish camp is a happy one despite their preparations being overshadowed by furore over the non-appearance of James McCarthy, Marc Wilson, Jon Walters and Anthony Stokes.

Tardelli said: “I was happy because many younger players played well, Coleman, Cox played well, as did Ward. I am happy because when the players come in they feel at home.”

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