Rock bottom, but high praise for Roy

HIS team might be bottom of the league, but Roy Keane is still attracting compliments from very high places.

Carl Marston

HIS team might be bottom of the league, but Roy Keane is still attracting compliments from very high places.

Ipswich Town's high profile boss, still searching for his first league win of a so far disastrous season, has had praise heaped on his shoulders by both Giovanni Trapattoni and Carlos Queiroz.

And a little further down the footballing ladder, Swansea City's young midfielder Joe Allen, who is hoping to be fit for this weekend's trip to Portman Road, has admitted that Keane was his boyhood hero.

Former Italian national coach Trapattoni, who is the current Republic of Ireland manager, is looking forward to the World Cup play-offs, even though he rues the absence of a Roy Keane-like player in his ranks.

“I am the coach and I must use these players. I don't have Roy Keane. I have the players I have,” explained Trapattoni.

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“We can't look to the past and we must make changes. We don't have South American qualities. I believe in our competitiveness and our strengths.”

The Republic of Ireland rekindled memories of their eventful trip to the 2002 World Cup finals when they very nearly claimed the scalp of reigning champions Italy on Saturday evening.

But for substitute Alberto Gilardino's last-gasp equaliser, Trapattoni's men would have closed to within a point of the Group Eight leaders and sent the holders into tomorrow night's home clash with Cyprus knowing anything less than a victory could open the door for the Irish to snatch automatic qualification.

Queiroz, meanwhile, has also been extolling the influence of Keane, the player, on Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I think he (Ronaldo) learned at Manchester United from players like Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, because they all had that winning mentality and a determination to work hard,” insisted Queiroz.

Queiroz was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford for four years from 2004, before taking over as the Portugal national coach.

Swansea City's teenage midfielder, Joe Allen, might not command the same footballing respect as Trapattoni or Queiroz, but he shares this duo's admiration for Town's charismatic boss.

“Obviously being a Manchester United fan, Roy Keane is one of my favourite players of all time,” insisted 19-year-old Allen, who is hoping to overcome a hamstring injury to play this weekend.

“It would be great to play in a game that he is involved in. Keane is a legend.

“He's one of the best midfielders I've ever seen, and it would be nice to meet him maybe.”

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