Robbie Keane has criticised players who do not want to play for the Republic of Ireland and has used Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford as an example.
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy recently insisted that he is no longer going to chase Bamford, after failing to persuade the Leeds striker to play for him.
Bamford was born in England, but qualifies for the Republic of Ireland through the grandparent rule and made one appearance for the country’s under-18 side, before switching allegiance and representing England at a number of youth levels.
Keane is the Republic of Ireland’s all-time record goalscorer and is currently assistant to McCarthy for the national side.
The former striker admitted that he is frustrated when the national team has to chase players, just as McCarthy was forced to with Bamford.
“You’re representing your country and if you want to play for Ireland, you come play for us. We’re not going to go and chase you,” Keane told The Irish Sun.
“I’ll tell you with Patrick Bamford, he should be chasing us. He should want to come here. If he doesn’t want to, no problem.
“We shouldn’t be chasing people, by the way. That’s what f***ing winds me up. We shouldn’t be chasing people. They should want to play for us.
“If you don’t, don’t waste anybody’s time. Don’t waste the manager’s time,” Keane continued.
“And I am not speaking specifically about Bamford. I am talking about everybody. Anybody.”
Bamford scored ten goals in all competitions for Leeds last season, after joining from Middlesbrough in the summer, but spent time on the sidelines with injury problems.
To be fair to Keane, you can understand why he’s frustrated, players should want to represent their country and shouldn’t need to be chased.
I know he said he wasn’t speaking about Bamford specifically, but it certainly seems as though he falls into the category of players that he was talking about.
Bamford can obviously represent England as well and if he doesn’t want to play for the Republic of Ireland, then that’s fair enough, but if he does then he shouldn’t expect McCarthy to chase him.
I can’t see him getting a chance for England anytime soon to be honest, so perhaps the Republic of Ireland would be his best chance of making it on the international stage.