Robbie Keane will captain the Republic of Ireland in their friendly with England on Wednesday despite having only just returned from the United States, manager Giovanni Trapattoni announced on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy striker only arrived in England on Tuesday morning, but is due to win his 124th cap with a starting role against Roy Hodgson’s England at Wembley Stadium.
Keane, who has said he will only continue playing for his country if they can compete against the stronger sides after an embarrassing exit without a point at last year’s Euro last year finals, said he had thought he would finish his international career without ever playing England.
England and Ireland have not met since a friendly had to be abandoned in February 1995 because of the behaviour of a section of English fans, mainly members of the neo Nazi group Combat 18.
“I was a kid in the stand and I didn’t think at that stage we would have a chance to play England,” he said.
“It’s a bit long coming, to try to put to bed what happened a long time ago.”
Announcing his team, Trapattoni revealed that Stoke City defender Marc Wilson will miss out due to a calf problem, with Reading’s Stephen Kelly starting at left-back.
Wilson’s club-mate Jon Walters is due to start on the right side of midfield in Trapattoni’s customary 4-4-2 formation, with Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady on the opposite flank.