Keane on the defence after Wolves fans criticise Hammers move

ROBBIE KEANE has sought to placate Wolves supporters who have accused him of turning his back on one of his old clubs by signing for their relegation rivals West Ham.

“Anyone who knows me knows that the club will always be special to me,” he says. “But I have to focus my allegiance now on West Ham. Had there been an offer from Wolves then, of course, I would have been interested in talking to them about coming back. But there wasn’t — I can’t talk to a club that isn’t trying to sign me.

“The dream outcome for me is that both clubs get out of this mess. I desperately don’t want to see my old club go down. It’s important that the Wolves fans hear this. I’ve got a great relationship with them which is important.”

Meanwhile Shay Given’s hopes of winning a recall to Manchester City’s first team suffered a massive blow yesterday after manager Roberto Mancini launched a staunch defence of Joe Hart.

There had been speculation Mancini would drop Hart, after the England number one’s error cost City victory against Birmingham on Wednesday night.

Hart allowed a free-kick from David Bentley to crawl under his legs after the slightest touch from Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic.

Mancini was livid after the 2-2 draw with Alex McLeish’s side and hinted he was considering dropping Hart.

However the Italian yesterday revealed Hart retains his support, a position that will come as a disappointment to Republic of Ireland number one Given.

“Joe is the best goalkeeper in England,” said Mancini.

“If a striker doesn’t score, the game can finish 0-0. If a goalkeeper makes a mistake you might lose 1-0. That is the problem.”

Elsewhere the FAI have also confirmed that former Wales and Liverpool striker, Ian Rush, will accept the International Personality Of The Year award at the 21st 3/FAI International Soccer Awards which will take place tomorrow evening at the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook. RTÉ will televise the event live on RTÉ Two at 8.00pm.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Giovanni Trapattoni is interested in enlisting former England U21 international Darren Ambrose. The 26-year-old Crystal Palace midfielder qualifies for Ireland under the grandparent rule.

Also, Caleb Folan could be on the move to an MSL club in the US after struggling to cement a place at Hull City this season.

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