Trapattoni delight at strike duo
Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni was impressed with Robbie Keane's partnership with Leon Best during last night's 1-1 draw with Nigeria at Craven Cottage. Coventry City striker Best was making his debut, while it was Keane who grabbed the equaliser in the friendly after Michael Enemaro had opened the scoring.
"It was a very good goal and a good moment for Robbie," Trapattoni said. "I saw Robbie play two weeks ago and he is currently in a good period.
"His morale is good and he plays for the team - sometimes as a playmaker, sometimes scoring goals," he said. "It's very important for Ireland and he gives time to the rest of the players, which is important for us as well.
"Robbie linked up well with Leon Best," Trapattoni said. "We need players who play up front and Robbie is playing a bit between the strikers and the midfield."
Trapattoni praised his six debutants. Kevin Foley, Sean St Ledger, Eddie Nolan, Liam Lawrence and Best were in the starting XI. Keiren Westwood then came on at the break for his first appearance.
"I am very happy with them all, though," the coach said. "We wanted to look at the performance and personality of the new players, and it was important to check on other players for the future. The first half was very good and the performance was strong, too."
Foley, however, picked up a knock and will be assessed on Monday, while Darron Gibson has had a scan on a thigh problem. Overall, Trapattoni felt his side had done well.
"It was very interesting - in their performance and their personality against a strong team, not just in Africa, but the whole world," he said. "They play in good European countries and leagues. They are fast and play the ball well.
"We had them only a few days to learn our system. They have their own systems at their clubs," Trapattoni said. "I have to look at our system as well and see how they fit into that."
Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu did not appear for his post-match media duties. One banner in the crowd demanding his sacking resulted in a scuffle between fans and stewards.