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By ESPN Staff

Trapattoni puts faith in Ireland skipper Keane

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni is hoping captain Robbie Keane's lack of football at Tottenham so far this season will work in his country's favour.

• Maher: Ghosts spur Irish on

Keane has managed just two appearances as a substitute for Spurs, following weeks of speculation that he could leave the club during the transfer window. And he was linked with a deadline day move to Turkish side Besiktas.

But he flew out to Armenia with Ireland with his mind focused firmly on the task of returning with three points in the Republic's Euro 2012 qualifying account. And Trapattoni is keeping his fingers crossed that Keane's lack of recent activity will mean he is fresher than ever.

The Italian said: "Robbie is mature. I have spoken to him about whether he should stay with his club, and I said to him, 'Sure, your club need you'. He is balanced in his mind about football because he knows from many years in England, he knows the situation.

"But I am selfish and at the moment. For Ireland team, it is better he has played a few games. He is proud and I'm sure he can play like the Robbie Keane we know.''

Keane was able to train at Malahide without the protective knee brace he had worn previously, and he was joined on the flight to Armenia by defenders Richard Dunne and Darren O'Dea, who are expected to shake off muscle and knee injuries respectively.

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