Robbie Keane labels Michael Carrick as 'one of the best' after England draw with Republic of Ireland

The sides drew 1-1 at Wembley

Robbie Keane labelled Michael Carrick the most under-rated player in England after seeing him help to deny the Republic of Ireland a famous victory at Wembley.

The Manchester United midfielder was instrumental in dragging Roy Hodgson's side back into their eagerly-anticipated friendly clash with Ireland as he fed Daniel Sturridge to set up Frank Lampard's 23rd-minute equaliser.

But Republic skipper Keane witnessed at close hand his former Tottenham team-mate's overall contribution, and it came as no surprise to him.

The LA Galaxy striker said: "Michael is a good friend of mine. I said it years and years ago, he is certainly one of the best midfielders I have played against.

"He sees the pass very, very quickly. When you see the pass that quickly, it creates so much space for other players and it takes three or four players out of the game.

"You saw that tonight, the understanding that he has with players. He doesn't need to take three, four, five touches, it's one touch, two touches.

"He has probably been the most under-rated player in England for such a long time. I never understand how he doesn't get picked for the England squad on a regular basis.

"You saw him tonight - I saw that years ago."

Ireland enjoyed a dream start to their first encounter with England in 18 years when Shane Long powered a superb header past keeper Joe Hart from Seamus Coleman's pinpoint cross.

Long's effort sparked delirious celebrations among the 11,000 or so Irish fans and reminded Keane of his former international strike partner Niall Quinn.

He said with a smile: "It was a great ball by Seamus and it was a great leap by Longy - it was like Quinny in the day, wasn't it?

"It was good, it set the stall out for us. We were disappointed to concede the goal after that, but all in all, on reflection 1-1 is probably a good result for everybody."

A draw in London will do Ireland's confidence little harm as they continue to repair a reputation which took a severe beating at last summer's Euro 2012 finals.

Giovanni Trapattoni's men rediscovered the resilience which had served them so well previously with keeper David Forde making two fine saves from Theo Walcott and a third from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Coleman spared his side with two goal-line clearances.

Keane said: "If you are looking at it possession-wise, they probably had a lot more possession than we had. They keep the ball and maybe get to 10, 12 passes, where we probably get three or four.

"But when you are playing against these teams, you have to just set your stall out and know your strengths, and our strength is getting in people's faces.

"If we are playing against the Faroe Islands, we can get the ball down and pass it and get those 10, 12 passes, but against a team like England, it's hard to do."

PA

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