Martin O'Neill: "If it's not Sweden, Robbie Keane thinks he'll be fit for the second game"

Ireland manager explains his squad selection decisions

Martin O'Neill, Ireland

Martin O'Neill announces his squad for Euro 2016 ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Martin O'Neill says Ireland captain Robbie Keane is hopeful of being fit for the opening Euro 2016 game against Sweden on June 13th.

O'Neill included the striker in the final 23-man squad for the tournament amid concerns over a calf injury which could see him miss out on the Sweden match.

"He thinks that he could be. If it's not Sweden, he thinks he'll be fit for the second game. That's the thoughts at this minute but I'm not a doctor," he said.  

Midfielder Harry Arter was ruled out before the Belarus match after picking up an injury and O'Neill chose to leave him out of the journey to France.

"He's gone home. He is reasonably feeling that he could fit in maybe 10 days but it's another call and you have to make decisions because we've got a couple of injured players at the moment ... Robbie Keane as you mentioned and James McCarthy. And while you want to be going in with some skillful players, you obviously need to balance that there with players who are fit. But like the rules state, if some players don't make it through, you've got a little bit of time. Who knows what might happen? But I'm not saying this is the 23 that we've chosen." 

On some of the other individual players who missed out, O'Neill referenced goalkeeper David Forde, who had been No 1 at the start of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

"David Forde is obviously a disappointment. He's been a big part of proceedings, made this wonderful save against Germany when they were leading 1-0 [in Gelsenkirchen]. It could have gone 2-0. Great, great save and we end up getting that point which eventually takes us to France," he said.