FOOTBALL: Roy Keane backs Eunan O’Kane to nail down regular place in Republic of Ireland squad

Eunan O'Kane pictured with the Republic of Ireland squad during training at Abbotstown this week.

Eunan O'Kane pictured with the Republic of Ireland squad during training at Abbotstown this week.

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ROY KEANE has backed Bournemouth midfielder, Eunan O’Kane to make the grade at international level after watching him fit in seamlessly with the Republic of Ireland squad at Abbotstown this week.

The Ireland assistant boss was impressed with the Co. Derry man’s attitude in training ahead of tomorrow’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Gilbraltar and believes O’Kane is good enough to hold down a regular place in team.

O’Kane is poised to receive his first full international cap in the Algarve tomorrow and will be waiting patiently for the nod from Martin O’Neill who must whittle down his 28 man squad ahead of the game.

“I like him,” said Keane. “There’d be no problem (with fitting into the international set-up).

“What would help him is that if you can deal with the ball you’ve got a hell of a chance.

“If he’s playing regularly at club level - and Bournemouth play really good football - and what we’ve seen from first impressions here, he’s got a chance.”

If he’s playing regularly at club level - and Bournemouth play really good football - and what we’ve seen from first impressions here, he’s got a chance.

Roy Keane

Keano backs Gibson

Meanwhile Keane also gave his backing to Derry man, Darron Gibson following the Everton midfielder’s recent troubles.

Gibson pleaded guilty to crashing his car into three cyclists while drink driving this week.

“Young players are going to make mistakes,” added the former Manchester United skipper. “Talented players fall by the wayside. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to him.”