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Japan U19
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By ESPN Staff

'We've not been good enough' - Keane

Robbie Keane will embark upon a new World Cup qualifying campaign next month admitting the Republic of Ireland have simply not been good enough in recent years.

The Irish have missed out on the finals of the last three major tournaments after establishing themselves as something of a fixture under Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy.

But with new manager Giovanni Trapattoni now at the helm with a promising blend of experienced and talented young players at his disposal, hopes are high for South Africa 2010.

The Republic will play their final warm-up game against Norway tonight before qualifiers away to Georgia and Montenegro at the start of September, and their 28-year-old skipper is hoping for big things.

Keane said: 'I don't think anyone before has made excuses, it just hasn't been good enough, it's as simple as that.

'As players, you take responsibility. As individuals, you take responsibility and as a team, you have to do that.

'Of course, it's always good to have experienced players here because when times aren't good, it is always good to help the young lads who are maybe not doing as well.

'But football is a team game and we have to all look after each other, and if we don't do that, we have no chance.

'We have got a chance. It is a tough group, there's no question, but we have as much of a chance as everyone else.

'We will take each game as it comes. We will wait for the next couple of games and see what happens, but we will certainly have a chance, like everyone else has.'

Keane and strike partner Kevin Doyle will have a rare opportunity to benefit from the service of wide-men Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady at the Ullevaal Stadium with the Newcastle man in particular having been limited by an injury nightmare over the last two seasons.

Liverpool's £20million summer signing knows exactly what that could mean and is relishing the chance to see exactly what the pair can do in harness.

He said: 'They are two top players and it is always good when you are playing with great players. It makes your job a lot easier.

'With Damien and Aiden, with the skill they have, they are always looking to do something and as wingers crossing balls for myself and Kevin up front.'

Keane arrived in Norway with his fledgling partnership with new club-mate Fernando Torres under the spotlight, although he is confident that will click sooner rather than later.

He said: 'It has only been a couple of games. It is like everything, it is going to take a little bit of time.

'We will take a few games to really understand each other's game.'

However, he raised a smile at the pre-match press conference when he was informed by a Norwegian journalist that former Blackburn defender Henning Berg had described him as the best player he had played against in his autobiography.

He said: 'Yes? Was he drunk?

'Tell him thank you very much. That's obviously a very good compliment.'


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