The trio were omitted from the 16-man match-day squad involved in relegation-threatened Sunderland's 1-0 defeat against Chelsea at the Stadium of Light last Saturday but Keane insists they were not, as has been widely rumoured, being punished for an unauthorised drinking session, says the Guardian.
"It is absolute nonsense. They've done nothing wrong," Sunderland's manager stressed yesterday. "For those players to be labelled is wrong. I've been in football a long time but there seems to be something about this area [the north-east] that rumours go round about different players. We must stop these rumours because it is unfair on the players and their families.
"Trust me, if they had been disciplined or not included for anything other than footballing reasons I would be prepared to tell you about it."