Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Euro 2020 qualifiers: Republic of Ireland's Richard Keogh prepared to play through the pain against Gibraltar

Derby County defender broke a bone in his right hand during Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Stoke City

Derby County's Richard Keogh receives medical treatment on his hand after sustaining an injury in the game against Stoke City. Reuters
Derby County's Richard Keogh receives medical treatment on his hand after sustaining an injury in the game against Stoke City. Reuters

Richard Keogh is ready to play with a broken hand as the Republic of Ireland attempt to launch their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with victory in Gibraltar.

The 32-year-old Derby County defender broke a bone in his right hand during Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Stoke City in England's second-tier Championship, but opted not to have surgery to repair the damage which would have ruled him out of the double-header against Gibraltar and Georgia.

Keogh said: "I went for the X-ray and at first they were talking about surgery. This was before I spoke to the hand surgeon and I didn't particularly want to do that, I wanted to get his opinion first before I did anything.

"When I spoke to him, I just said, 'Listen, if there's a chance of me playing, I just want to carry on playing if that's at all possible. I don't want to have surgery'. I'd rather just take the risk, I suppose, and just crack on.

"He saw the X-ray and said, 'I think we can do that'. If it hadn't been the middle of my finger where it's protected by the other two, I think I might have had to have surgery and been out for bit.

"But fingers crossed, with this now, I can just resume training, playing and carry on, so it worked out well in the end."

Keogh, who is planning to play - if selected - wearing a protective cast, insisted he was not taking any risks by declaring himself available.

He said: "I had a good conversation with him, the hand surgeon, and he said he's seen this injury a few times and people have played with it."

New Ireland manager Mick McCarthy was dealt a fresh blow on Tuesday morning when striker Shane Long was forced to withdraw from the squad with a groin injury, with Millwall forward Aiden O'Brien flying in to replace him.

McCarthy will hope to get off to a flying start as he attempts to erase the memories of a disappointing Nations League campaign as Martin O'Neill's reign drew to a close, although Keogh is adamant the players have to take responsibility for that.

He said: "Listen, the way it ended last year for us, it wasn't a great year, I think we can all hold our hands up to that. As players, we have got to take responsibility. We could have performed a lot better.

"But whatever has happened in the past is in the past now. Mick's coming in, he's a fantastic manager, a fantastic guy. His record, not just for Ireland but at club level, is very good.

"It's up to us now as players to really try to step up and have a really good qualifying campaign."

Updated: March 19, 2019 04:18 PM

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