Dynamic McAteer

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Jason McAteer's goalscoring performance in central midfield has provided stiff competition for the enigmatic Roy Keane for a place at the heart of the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign.

This sideshow to the traditional Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry should prove beneficial to the cause for the Republic's coach, Mick McCarthy. Liverpool's McAteer, converted to a right wing-back since his pounds 4m move from Bolton, was the vital spark of a convincing 3-0 Irish victory over FYR Macedonia in the Group Eight qualifier in Dublin, combining his first international goal in 19 appearances with a dynamic display.

However, McCarthy considers Keane a world-class player, although the United midfielder featured in only four of Ireland's 11 games in the last European Championship qualifiers. Keane has played only once for McCarthy, but he has returned to the fold since being sent off against Russia in March and banned by the coach from a summer tour of America after failing to turn up for another friendly international in Dublin.