Richard Keogh: 'If you want to achieve something great, nothing comes easy - you've got to fight for it'

Tue, Mar 19 2019

Keogh was thankful to be able to avoid surgery on a hand injury sustained at the weekend. Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Experienced campaigner Richard Keogh was in buoyant mood this morning as he prepared for day two of training ahead of this week’s important qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia.

The defender entered the conference room with his hand swaddled with a heavy bandage but he quickly allayed any major concerns and was looking forward to this morning’s training session.

“I played Stoke last week and I can’t remember doing it but I ended up breaking my hand,” the Derby County captain told reporters.

“I thought I had dislocated my finger at the time so I just tried to sort it out myself with a bit of DIY and managed to finish the game.

“I went for an x-ray the next day and turned out I had broken it and snapped two bones. At first they were talking about surgery but I had a chat with the surgeon and told him I didn’t really want to do that.

“I said to him if there was a chance of me playing, I want to carry on playing if that’s at all possible. I really don’t want to have surgery, I’d rather just take the risk and crack on.

“Thankfully he saw the x-ray and was happy enough for me to do that. Fingers crossed with this now I can just resume training and carry on so it worked out well in the end.

“The hand surgeon said he has seen this injury a few times and has seen players carry on playing with it so I don’t think it is too much of a risk.

“I had another x-ray yesterday and it’s healing already really well so yeah I’ve got no question that I can carry on playing. I can’t wait to get going.”

As is natural at the start of a new campaign, there is a real sense of optimism and excitement around the squad in the last number of days.

A glance at the group tables reads zero for all in the points column. Everyone is starting again with fresh ideas and hopes for where this new adventure might take them.

The Derby County defender is delighted to be back amongst the squad and, although they will need to ensure we play at their very best to come out of the group, Keogh is confident this group of players can do what is expected of them.

“It’s great meeting up with the squad again and with the new management staff. There’s nothing better than when you are playing competitive games and there is a real buzz and excitement around the camp.

“The way it ended last year for us wasn’t a great year. I think we can all hold our hands up to that. As players we’ve got to take responsibility and could have performed a lot better.

“I think now whatever has happened in the past is in the past now. Mick is now in and he is a fantastic manager and fantastic guy.

“His record, not just for Ireland but at club level, is really good. There’s a really good vibe among the camp at the moment and everyone is buzzing and ready to go.

“There’s never going to be an easy group when you are trying to qualify for the Euros but we showed in the last qualifying campaign, when quite a few had wrote us off, that we were good enough and managed to qualify.

“If you want to achieve something great, nothing comes easy. You’ve got to fight for it and work hard for it and we are confident that we can do something great with this group.

“I think the fact that some of the tournament is in Dublin has to act as a motivation for us. For any player to be a part of a squad and play in a major tournament in your own country is something that you do think about for sure.

“If the lads want to use that as motivation then we should. These things don’t come around too often.”

It has been confirmed that Southampton striker Shane Long has withdrawn from the squad due to a groin injury with Millwall’s Aiden O’Brien set to replace him and join the squad tomorrow.