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Ex-Man Utd captain Keane tipping Stoke's Ireland for international recall

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has dropped a hint that Stephen Ireland could quite possibly be recalled to the national team setup.

The 27-year old Stoke City midfielder has not played for the Irish since 2007 when he pulled out of a squad after claiming that both of his grandmothers had died.

Ireland, who was with Manchester City at the time, later admitted that he had pulled out for personal reasons and that in fact both of his grandmothers were still alive.

Coincidentally, Keane was on a flight from Ireland to England this week to watch the Potters in action against Hull City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and bumped into one of Ireland's grandma's who quizzed the Manchester United great on her grandson's national team chances.

"Well, I spoke with the grandmother this morning, she was on the flight coming over - and she asked me would he get back involved," said Keane.

"I couldn't lie to her. I said he'd have a chance if he's playing well. I think (Ireland boss) Martin (O'Neill) had a conversation with him, and all that needs to fall into place.

"We all know how talented Stephen is and Martin will look at that. We wouldn't be shutting the door on any player.

"What is important for any player - and Stephen is the same - is it does help to be playing week-in week-out.

"He's obviously had a difficult spell. He's only just got a run of games at Stoke now, so I certainly wouldn't be ruling anyone out."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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