Keane: Ireland don’t have any particular plan for Bale
Roy Keane says that the Republic of Ireland don’t have “a
particular plan” to deal with Gareth Bale when they play Wales
on Friday, but insists that the Irish players are looking
forward to the challenge.
Real Madrid attacker Bale is unquestionably Wales’ key player
and, with 26 international goals, he is closing in on the
record set by his compatriot, former Liverpool striker Ian
The 27-year-old has already bagged three goals for his
country in the current qualifying campaign and will be
keen to make his mark against the Boys in Green as his side aim
to close the gap to the Group D leaders.
Keane conceded that Ireland had not put a special plan in
place to deal with the former Tottenham star, but stressed that
they would respect a team that also contains talents such as
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and embrace the challenge.
“Do you not think other players and coaches have tried to come
up with a plan before?” Keane said at a news conference. “But
the top players seem to figure it out and they’ll affect the
“Bale has done that for a number of years for Madrid and on the
big occasions. I can’t say we have any particular plan, but
having said that, we will respect all the Welsh players.
“They have got some good players around Bale who give him that
foundation to go and express himself, so that’s why he has a
big impact on all their results, whether it be goals or
assists. The stats will tell you that.
“But your eyes don’t lie to you: He’s a good player and we look
forward to the challenge of challenging ourselves against him.”
The former Manchester United captain revealed that he has
been a big admirer of Bale for a long time, as far back as
his breakthrough years at Southampton.
The Welsh forward has gone on quite a journey since his time at
St Mary’s, evolving into one of the most influential
attacking players of the modern era.
“He’s a top, top player,” added Keane. “He’s a brilliant player
who has been doing it regularly at the highest level now for
the last few years.
“I have always liked him. I even liked him when I was manager
at Sunderland (Bale was a teenager at Southampton).
“He’s a top player, I like watching him playing. He’s a big
player for Wales and a big player for Real Madrid.
“Do you know what? Our lads should look forward to the
challenge of playing against the best.”