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Joker Rob is wry so so serious.


ROBBIE KEANE was once the joker in the pack but now he's the ace in the hand for Martin O'Neill.

That's according to the record-scorer's former strike partner Niall Quinn who feels the 34-year-old is needed more than ever.

Keane shook off injury to feature off the bench in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Oman - and is set to lead the line in Georgia on Sunday.

Quinn said: "Robbie is a guy who was flying high, he was the joker in the pack and life was a breeze.

"But then the goals came and his importance showed itself to everyone and he changed.

"It was really refreshing to see that change which extended his career and drove his focus. He was giving out about players not turning up for games.

"To see him doing that from being the kid I knew who was scatty and having a laugh all the time - he's very driven and focused."

Quinn added: "For that reason he is valuable and for his goals he's valuable. He just has the knack. He finds space and loses defenders.

"It's not sheer pace, he's not reliant on that. You can put cones out, give players bibs and give them all the coaching they want but it's natural ability.

"The slowest player I ever played with or against was Mick Quinn at Coventry. He was also the fattest player I ever played with or against!

"But he got goals because he had this habit of nudging you out of the way at the precise moment.

"Everyone would say, 'Why didn't you mark him, he's slow' but he was unmarkable at times.

"Robbie has that ... but he's not as fat."


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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 5, 2014
Next Article:HE'S OUR CLOUGH; EURO 16 QUALIFIER GEORGIA v IRELAND, SUNDAY, 5,00PM; Quinn: Martin has an aura he inherited from mentor Brian.

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