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Football: Keane can play Totti role says Trapattoni; INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL.

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI will ask Robbie Keane to reprise Francesco Totti's role in his Republic of Ireland masterplan.

The 27-year-old skipper was asked to play off central striker Kevin Doyle in the hole in front of Trapattoni's midfield quartet against Serbia on Saturday, and will do the same against Colombia at Craven Cottage tonight.

The Italian is hoping the Tottenham front man can help provide the link as he attempts to replace a long-ball approach with a more dynamic style of play.

Trapattoni acknowledges Roma star Totti and Keane have different qualities, but is confident his man can do a similar job.

He said: "I want him to play a little bit between the midfield and the forwards.

"I want him to play in a similar role to Francesco Totti - Totti is Totti and has other qualities to Robbie, but that's the sort of area I want him to play in.

"Robbie can play like that, and he can also score goals.

He can do that."

Tonight's game will bring an end to the first phase of Trapattoni's mission as he looks towards the World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins in Georgia in September.

However, he is hoping the lessons he has conducted on the training pitch both in Portugal last week and in Malahide since the squad's return to Ireland have been assimilated and taken on board for good.

He said: "In recent years, the questions have been about Ireland's defence being catastrophic.

"Now, we have an opportunity against Colombia to look more confident."

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Ireland ace Robbie Keane
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 29, 2008
Words:260
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