Trap hails Keane’s Hammers switch

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has welcomed Robbie Keane’s transfer to West Ham, just one week after the Ireland manager warned that the striker’s Irish place would be under threat if he didn’t escape his limbo at Spurs.

“I am very happy for this solution,” said Trapattoni from his home in Milan. “I told him that it was very important to find a squad and he said that he would. This will be a good move for his morale and development. With the move we regain a player who is very important both for the squad and for Ireland.”

While Trapattoni had already said that Keane would play against Wales on this day week, it was confirmed yesterday that two other big names — Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy — will miss the inaugural Carling Nations Cup match at the Aviva Stadium.

As feared, Bale has been omitted from the Welsh squad because of a persistent back problem, a development which would seem to open the door to a start for Seamus Coleman after Trapattoni had indicated that his only concern about the Everton youngster was that he might find the flying winger’s pace tough to handle on what would be his Irish debut.

Bellamy, meanwhile, has a recurring knee problem which restricts the number of games he can play for Cardiff City, with whom he is on loan from Manchester City. However, he is scheduled to play against fellow promotion challengers Swansea next Sunday in a crucial Championship game which comes just two days before the Carling international in Dublin.

Said Speed: “I am sure everyone is aware of Craig’s situation and it would be wrong of me to ask him to play on Tuesday after playing on Sunday. The last thing we want is players going back to their clubs injured.”

Another Cardiff loanee, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, has also returned to the Welsh squad for the first time since suffering a broken leg last season.

“I’m delighted he’s available,” said Speed. “He is really relishing the challenge and the Ireland game might come at the right time for him. He is hopefully one of the cogs in the wheel that will make us successful. He’s one of those players who can change a game.”

But the new Welsh manager has been unable to talk Fulham midfielder Simon Davies out of retirement.

Said Speed: “Simon said he was tempted but he wants to concentrate on his Fulham career and I respect that totally.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Hunt is a doubt for the game on February 8 after a calf strain suffered against Stoke in the FA Cup on Sunday ruled him out of Wolves’ game against Bolton tomorrow.

Wales squad v Rep of Ireland: J Brown (Blackburn), W Hennessey (Wolves), B Myhill (West Brom); D Collins (Stoke), J Collins (Aston Villa), N Eardley (Blackpool), D Gabbidon (West Ham), C Gunter (Nottingham Forest), C Morgan (Preston), S Ricketts (Bolton), A Williams (Swansea); A Crofts (Norwich), D Edwards (Wolves), A King (Leicester), J Ledley (Celtic), A Ramsey (Cardiff), D Vaughan (Blackpool); S Church (Reading), R Earnshaw (Nottingham Forest), C Evans (Sheffield United), F Eastwood (Coventry), S Morison (Millwall), H Robson-Kanu (Reading).

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