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World Cup onus falls on Matt

PUBLISHED: 16:10 23 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Town skipper Matt Holland carries a hugely increased burden of World Cup responsibility for the Irish Republic following today's shock news that Roy Keane has been sent home.

IPSWICH Town skipper Matt Holland carries a hugely increased burden of World Cup responsibility for the Irish Republic following today's shock news that Roy Keane has been sent home.

Keane, Ireland's captain and most influential player, was sent packing from the team's Saipan headquarters after a public outburst over the squad's World Cup preparations.

The amazing decision leaves the Irish in turmoil, but the remaining players are likely to pull together without the disruptive influence of the Manchester United midfielder.

Aston Villa defender Steve Staunton has been named captain in the wake of Keane's departure.

But the responsibility for keeping the team motoring from the centre of midfield is now certain to fall on Holland.

The 28-year-old Holland has made 19 international appearances. All his three goals for Ireland came in the World Cup qualifying campaign, including a hugely important point-winning goal in a 1-1 away draw with Portugal.

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